My gratitude to Iain Banks

By Evangeline Jennings

When I was really very young – my guess is eleven or twelve – I was taken to see a writer called Iain Banks. He was signing books somewhere in Bristol – possibly Bath – and before the signing he read to us from his brand new book.

I had so much fun that we did it again next year.

Iain Banks died yesterday and I feel terribly sad. But in a way, of course, he will live on, and not only because of all his wonderful books. In my life alone, he’ll never be forgotten for his warmth, kindness, humour, and beard. He was the first writer I ever met, and one of the small handful who inspired me to try for myself.

When I proffered a book for his signature, he didn’t talk down to me. He signed the book and hoped I would enjoy it. And then he asked if I had read any of his others. I told him I had and feeling the need to prove it mentioned that I made my dad play the car games from The Crow Road. He laughed. He didn’t ruffle my hair but he could have done, it was that kind of laugh.

My gratitude to Iain Banks extends beyond the limits of my capacity to express it.

You don’t have to be a nice guy to be a great writer – I hope – but Iain Banks was both.


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