After the series of tributes to the just-deceased Scottish author Iain M. Banks, Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, will be holding a season of events over the summer in celebration of his work. The events will include readings and dramatizations, the commissioning of new short stories, and a film show. Incidentally, Edinburgh boasts the designation of the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
“That UNESCO designation was secured because writers like Iain lived and worked in and around Edinburgh,” Ali Bowden, Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, told me. “He’s part of what makes us a literary nation, a literary city. He’s a great writer because he expands our view of our lives and our world, and because he wrote books people loved to read. I’ve been very struck by the support and enthusiasm from across our city at the idea of a Banks season.”
The season was originally planned while Banks was still alive, she continued.
“We’d hoped Iain would be able to join us for the closing event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The season was originally intended as a way to show our love and support of Iain and his writing, to put wind in his sails as it were, as he battled the cancer.”
The Trust tried to arrange some e-book events in the season. “We did contact Iain’s publisher to see what was possible around the launch of “The Quarry,” but timing was against us,” Bowden said.
However, she added, “There’s the screening of The Crow Road at Filmhouse and we are planning to launch a Science Fiction virtual trail on the City of Literature website in the coming months. We’ll be using the #IainBanks [Twitter hashtag] for the events, and sharing our event photos and comments through that hashtag and via our own Twitter account, @EdinCityofLit, as will our partners who are programming events.”
Bowden insists that Banks the writer, living or dead, remains “hugely important to Scotland,” referencing Stuart Kelly’s excellent appreciation of the Banks legacy in The Scotsman. “I studied ‘The Bridge‘ at University (it broke my head the first time round, I had to go back and re-read it!) and have read and loved Iain’s books,” she added.
The season includes an event from The Society of Young Publishers calling for Banks-themed short stories, with ticket proceeds to go to Cancer Research, and will finish with a grand Celebration of Iain Banks as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.