Tribute to Iain Banks

As the 30th Edinburgh Book Festival comes to a close, a packed audience on Sunday evening attended a very special event, a tribute to Iain Banks, who died in June. This was a gathering of his friends and admirers. Chaired by Brian Taylor, with culture minister Fiona Hyslop in attendance and a message from the First Minister, fellow Fifers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid along with sci fi writer Ken Macleod paid tribute to a man they obviously knew well and missed greatly. Anecdotes ranged far and wide about evenings spent together, jokes shared, admiration expressed for the quality and scope of his writing. Actress Valerie Edmond, who had appeared in the TV version of “Crow Road” read two extracts from his work, the second being an achingly poignant rant against the world he would be leaving, that Banks had written after his terminal diagnosis. Neil Gaiman, who had a signing session at the time of the tribute, popped in unexpectedly to share an amusing memory of Banks at a sci fi convention. Ian Rankin revealed that he has not yet been able to open the last book “The Quarry” as to do so would be too final, too accepting that Banks has gone. The evening ended with a clip from Banks’ final interview with Kirsty Wark, where his final words were about how his life had all been so much fun. And on that positive note, the whole audience repaired to the tent next door and enjoyed a toast of Jura whisky to the memory of Iain Banks.

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