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Event to launch new exhibition on the work of Iain Banks

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Iain Banks
The author Iain Banks, the subject of a new exhibition in the Library at the University of Stirling's main campus in Stirling.

A new exhibition on the work of Scots author Iain Banks is being officially opened at the University of Stirling.

Banks studied English and philosophy at the University in the early 1970s.

The exhibition, in the University Library, is entitled “Parallel Worlds” and showcases foreign editions of Banks’ works, as well as a sculpture inspired by one of his most famous books “The Crow Road”.

It will be launched at a public event on the University’s main Stirling campus on Thursday 20 March, at 6.30 p.m.

Ken MacLeod - a close friend of Banks and the writer of over a dozen novels - will speak about the author. Mr MacLeod is currently editing a book of poetry featuring his and Banks’ material, due to be published next year. There will also be refreshments after the launch.

Anyone interested in attending the event should call 01786 467033 or email: to reserve a place. The event is free to attend, although places are limited.

Karl Magee, the University Archivist, said: “The exhibition highlights the international appeal of Banks’ fiction and shows the variety of ways his work was presented in different countries around the world. The volumes on display are part of a larger collection of almost 200 editions of Banks’ work translated into a range of languages and designed to reflect the tastes of readers in a range of markets including France, Germany, Israel, Russia and South Korea.

“The exhibition also features a book sculpture commemorating Iain Banks which was presented to the University by the Edinburgh International Book Festival last September.

“The sculpture is part of a set produced by an anonymous artist celebrating literature and the love of words. It represents Banks’ 1992 novel The Crow Road and is accompanied by a tribute to the writer from author Ian Rankin.”

Iain Banks was born in Dunfermline, Fife, becoming one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Scottish novelists of his generation. He graduated from the University of Stirling in 1975, and was later awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University in 1997.

He told the University: "I came to Stirling because it was fairly close to home – we lived in Gourock at the time - but not so close that commuting would have been a realistic possibility, and also because I’d grown to hate exams and knew that the University used continuous assessment.

"I did get in a lot of writing while I was at Stirling, as well as a fair amount of walking in the hills, too, plus I was handily placed to keep in touch with my extended family in Fife.

"What I remember most keenly is the wonderful feeling of freedom of being there, and the sheer intoxication of living and working in a place devoted to learning, to the pursuit of knowledge. I still smile when I think of the place, the time, and my years at Stirling were some of the happiest and most productive of my life. All that, plus I got to be an extra in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. How cool was that?”

By the time of his death in 2013, Iain Banks had published 26 novels and had been named as one of the top British writers since 1945 by The Times newspaper.

Shortly after Banks’ death, the author Ian Rankin paid tribute, saying: “He had a self-deprecating sense of his own worth. But those who knew him knew him as a man who was passionate about life.”

The University exhibition on Iain Banks is on display in the Archives and Special Collections area of the University Library, at its main Stirling campus, and runs until Friday 4 April.

The University’s Archives are open to university staff and students, researchers and members of the public. Visitors are asked to make contact before their visit. Call 01786 466619 or email:

The collection covers wide range of subjects including history and politics, literature, film and media, and sport.

Mr Magee added: “The University is delighted to be working with Iain Banks’ estate to collect and preserve an archive of his working papers and make this material available to researchers with an interest in his work.”

Archives and Special Collections at the University of Stirling

University profile on Iain Banks

The Guardian: Iain Banks's final book - of poetry - to be published in 2015




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