Iain Banks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 18 August 2009.
16 February 1954
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
|Pen name||Iain M. Banks|
Iain Banks (born on 16 February 1954) is a Scottish writer. He writes mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies.
Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write on a full-time basis. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular The Culture series. His books have also been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In April 2013, Banks announced that he has inoperable cancer and is unlikely to live beyond a year.
Early life 
Banks was born in Dunfermline, Fife, to a mother who was a professional ice skater and a father who was an officer in the Admiralty. An only child, Banks lived in North Queensferry until the age of nine, near the naval dockyards in Rosyth where his father was based. Banks's family then moved to Gourock due to the requirements of his father's work.
Banks decided to become a writer at the age of 11 and completed his first novel The Hungarian Lift-Jet at the age of 16. After attending Gourock and Greenock High Schools, Banks studied English, philosophy and psychology at the University of Stirling (1972-1975). He wrote his second novel TTR during his first year at university.
Following graduation Banks chose a succession of jobs that left him free to write in the evenings. These posts supported his writing throughout his twenties and allowed him to take long breaks between contracts, during which time he travelled through Europe, Scandinavia and North America. He was an expediter analyser for IBM, a technician (for British Steel) and a costing clerk for a Chancery Lane, London law firm during this period of his life.
In 1980 Banks met his first wife Annie at the Chancery Lane law firm. The couple moved in together the following year and were married in Hawaii in 1992. Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write full-time. His editor at Macmillan, James Hale, advised him to write one book a year and Banks agreed to this schedule.
Writing career 
As of March 2013 Banks has published 26 novels (the scheduled publication date of Banks's twenty-seventh and final novel The Quarry is 25 June 2013). Banks's first literary book The Wasp Factory was published in 1984 when he was 30, and his first science fiction book Consider Phlebas was released in 1987. The Crow Road (1992) was adapted as a BBC television series and Espedair Street (1987) was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Banks has cited Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, M John Harrison and Dan Simmons as literary influences.
Banks has published work under two names. His parents had intended to name him "Iain Menzies Banks", but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and "Iain Banks" became the officially registered title. Despite this error, Banks continued to use his middle name and submitted "Iain M. Banks" for the publication of The Wasp Factory. Banks's editor enquired about the possibility of omitting the 'M' as it appeared "too fussy" and the potential existed for confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a minor romantic novelist in the Jeeves novels by P.G. Wodehouse; Banks agreed to the omission. Following three mainstream novels, Banks's publishers agreed to publish his first science fiction (SF) novel Consider Phlebas. To create a distinction between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the 'M' to his name and the author's second title was consequently confirmed.
Radio and television 
Banks was the subject of The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks South Bank Show (1997), a radio work that examined his mainstream writing, and was also an in-studio guest for the final episode of Marc Riley's Rocket Science radio show that was broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. A radio adaptation of Banks's The State of the Art was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009; the adaptation was written by Paul Cornell and the production was directed/produced by Nadia Molinari.
In 2011 Banks was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live. Banks reaffirmed his atheism during his Saturday Live appearance, whereby he explained that death is an important "part of the totality of life" and should be treated realistically, instead of feared.
Banks has appeared on the BBC television programme Question Time, a show that features political discussion. In 2006 Banks captained a team of writers to victory in a special series of BBC Two's University Challenge. Banks also won a 2006 edition of BBC One's Celebrity Mastermind; the author selected "Malt whisky and the distilleries of Scotland" as his specialist subject.
Banks was involved in the theatre production The Curse Of Iain Banks that was written by Maxton Walker and was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1999. Banks wrote the music for a number of the songs that were featured in the production and also collaborated with the play's soundtrack composer Gary Lloyd, who also composed the score for a musical production of the Banks novel The Bridge. Lloyd explained his collaboration with Banks in a Guardian article prior to the opening of the The Curse of Iain Banks:
When he [Banks] first played them to me, I think he was worried that they might not be up to scratch (some of them dated back to 1973 and had never been heard). He needn't have worried. They're fantastic. We're slaving away to get the songs to the stage where we can go into the studio and make a demo. Iain bashes out melodies on his state-of-the-art Apple Mac in Edinburgh and sends them down to me in Chester where I put them onto my Atari.
Banks political position has been described as "left of centre" and, as a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, is an open supporter of Scottish independence. Banks is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Distinguished Supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland.
In late 2004, Banks was a member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In protest he cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street, the residential address of the British prime minister and the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government—in a Socialist Review interview, Banks explained that his passport protest occurred after he "abandoned the idea of crashing my Land Rover through the gates of Fife dockyard, after spotting the guys armed with machine guns." Banks relays his concerns about the invasion of Iraq in his book Raw Spirit, and the principal protagonist ("Alban McGill") in the novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale confronts another character with arguments of a similar nature.
In 2010 Banks called for a cultural and educational boycott of Israel following the Gaza flotilla raid incident. The flotillas were carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip and nine protesters were killed. In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, Banks stated that he had instructed his agent to turn down any further book translation deals with Israeli publishers:
Appeals to reason, international law, U.N. resolutions and simple human decency mean — it is now obvious — nothing to Israel... I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.
An extract from Banks's contribution to the written collection Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, entitled "Our People", was then published in the Guardian in the wake of the author's cancer revelation. The extract relays the author's support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign (a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) that was issued by a Palestinian civil society against Israel until Israel complies with international law and Palestinian rights) that commenced in 2005 and applies the lessons from Banks's experience with South Africa's apartheid era. The continuation of Banks's boycott of Israeli publishers for the sale of the rights to his novels is also confirmed in the extract and Banks further explains "I don't buy Israeli-sourced products or food, and my partner and I try to support Palestinian-sourced products wherever possible."
Personal life 
Banks lives in North Queensferry, on the north side of the Firth of Forth, with the published author and founder of the Dead by Dawn film festival Adele Hartley. Banks and Hartley commenced their relationship in 2006, and then married in April 2013. Banks met his first wife Annie in London before the 1984 release of his first book. The couple then lived in the south of England until 1988, prior to returning to Edinburgh, then Fife. They got married in Hawaii in 1992. It was announced in early 2007 that, after 15 years of marriage, Banks and his wife had separated.
In February 2007, Banks sold his extensive car collection, including a 3.2 litre Porsche Boxster, a Porsche 911 Turbo, a 3.8 litre Jaguar Mark II, a 5 litre BMW M5 and a daily use diesel Land Rover Defender whose power he had boosted by about 50%. Banks exchanged all of the vehicles for a Lexus RX 400h hybrid - since replaced by a diesel Toyota Yaris - and said in the future he would fly only in emergencies. In 1998 Banks had been in a near-fatal accident when his car rolled off the road.
In April 2012, Banks became the "Acting Honorary Non-Executive Figurehead President Elect pro tem (trainee)" of the Science Fiction Book Club based in London. The title was his own creation and on 3 October 2012 he accepted a T-shirt decorated with this title.
On 3 April 2013, Banks announced on his website that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the gallbladder and is unlikely to live beyond a year. In his announcement, Banks stated that he would be withdrawing from all public engagements and that his book The Quarry would be his last. Official date of publication is 25 June 2013.
- 1988British Science Fiction Association Award Nominee for The Player of Games –
- 1990British Science Fiction Association Award Nominee for Use of Weapons –
- 1991Arthur C. Clarke Award Nominee for Use of Weapons – 
- 1992Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Foreign Novel The Wasp Factory – 
- 1994British Science Fiction Association Award for Feersum Endjinn –
- 1994Locus Poll Award Nominee for Against a Dark Background –
- 1997British Fantasy Award Nominee for Excession –
- 1998British Science Fiction Award Nominee for Inversions – 
- 2001Locus Poll Award Nominee for Look to Windward –
- 2004Premio Italia Science Fiction Award in the Best International Novel category for Inversions –
- 2005Hugo Award Nominee for The Algebraist – 
- 2005Locus Poll Award Nominee for The Algebraist –
- 2009Locus Poll Award 2nd place for Matter –
- 2009Prometheus Award Nominee for Matter – 
- 2010John W. Campbell Memorial Award Finalist for Transition –
- 2010Locus Poll Award Nominee for Transition –
- 2011Locus Poll Award Nominee for Surface Detail –
Fiction as Iain Banks 
- 1984The Wasp Factory –
- 1985Walking on Glass –
- 1986The Bridge –
- 1987Espedair Street - adapted for BBC radio in 1998 (directed by Dave Batchelor). –
- 1989Canal Dreams –
- 1992The Crow Road – adapted for BBC TV in 1996 (directed by Gavin Millar). –
- 1993Complicity – filmed in 2000 (directed by Gavin Millar), retitled Retribution for its US DVD/video release. –
- 1995Whit –
- 1997A Song of Stone –
- 1999The Business –
- 2002Dead Air –
- 2007The Steep Approach to Garbadale –
- 2009Transition - published in the U.S.A. as Iain M. Banks –
- 2012Stonemouth –
- 2013The Quarry (forthcoming 25 June 2013) –
Science fiction as Iain M. Banks 
The Culture series 
- 1987Consider Phlebas –
- 1988The Player of Games –
- 1990Use of Weapons –
- 1996Excession –
- 1998Inversions –
- 2000Look to Windward –
- 2008Matter –
- 2010Surface Detail –
- 2012The Hydrogen Sonata –
Other novels 
Short fiction collections 
- The State of the Art (1991)
- Includes three short works set in the Culture universe. It also includes works of fiction more characteristic of Banks's writing published as Iain Banks.
- The Spheres (Birmingham Science Fiction Group, 2010)
- Includes 'The Spheres', excised from the original draft of Transition; and 'The Secret Courtyard', excised from Matter. Limited edition of 500, to mark Novacon 40.
Banks has written a number of introductions for works by other writers including:
- Viriconium (1988) by M. John Harrison, the Unwin edition, ISBN 0-04-440245-7.
- The Adventures of Luther Arkwright: Book 3, Götterdämmerung (1989) by Bryan Talbot from Proutt Publishing, ISBN 0-907865-03-8.
- The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook Three (1990) edited by David S. Garnett, ISBN 0-07-088833-7.
- The Human Front (2001) by Ken MacLeod, the PS Publishing edition, ISBN 1-902880-30-7 (hbk) and ISBN 1-902880-31-5 (pbk).
- "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". The Times. 5 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- Iain Banks (3 April 2013). "A personal statement from Iain Banks". Web. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Doing the Business". The Guardian. 7 August 1999. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "BBC News - Five Minutes With: Iain M Banks". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- "Iain M Banks". BBC Scotland. September 2004. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "Iain Banks". British Council. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- Jason Boog (6 May 2013). "Ian Banks to publish 'The Quarry' in June". GalleyCat. MediaBistro. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Iain Banks : Whit and Excession: Getting Used To Being God". Spike Magazine. 3 September 1996. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "Author Iain M. Banks: 'Humanity's future is blister-free calluses!'". CNN. 6 January 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- Backstage "Mark Lawson Talks to Ian Banks on BBC TV and Radio". 17 November 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
- Simon Johnson (2008). "When is Iain Banks next appearing on TV/Radio?". Iain Banks FAQ. Google, Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Paul Cornell (1). "The State of the Art". PaulCornell.com. Google, Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- BBC (5). "The State of the Art Radio Radio 4 dramatisation page". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Richard Coles. "Saturday Live 21/05/2011". BBC Radio 4. BBC. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Stuart Jeffries (25 May 2007). "A man of culture". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Theatre: The Curse of Iain Banks, Gilded Balloon". The Herald Scotland. 11 August 1999. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Gary Lloyd (22 July 1999). "Work in progress". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Scots writers spurn their neighbours". The Economist. 1997-04-24. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- "SSP News : News from the Scottish Socialist Party". Web.archive.org. 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- Kennedy, AL; Galloway, Janice (28 August 2011). "Scotland and England: what future for the Union? | Culture | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Interview: Changing society, imagining the future". Socialistreview.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
- Banks, Iain (Wednesday 2 June 2010). "Letters: Small step towards a boycott of Israel". The Guardian. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- Iain M Banks (5 April 2013). "Iain Banks: why I'm supporting a cultural boycott of Israel". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Iain M Banks (3). "A PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM IAIN BANKS". Iain M Banks. Iain M Banks. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Banks, Iain (2003). Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram. London: Century. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-1-84413-195-2.
- Liz Hoggard (18 February 2007). "Iain Banks: The novel factory". London: Independent.
- Mark Macaskill and Robert Booth (25 February 2007). "Bye-bye Porsches, says green convert Iain Banks". London: Times.
- Gerard Earley (3 October 2012). "Iain M. Banks became President of Science Fiction Book Club, London England". London: Web.
- BBC (3 April 2013). "Author Iain Banks has terminal cancer". Web. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Iain Banks Announces He Has 'Months' To Live". Sky News. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Lindsay Deutsch (7 May 2013). "Book Buzz: New Iain Banks coming in June". USA TODAY. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Stephen McGinty (8 April 2013). "Iain Banks marries in his favourite place". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 10 May 2013. "The couple’s wedding certificate shows that Banks, 59, of North Queensferry, married 42-year-old Miss Hartley at the five-star hotel [Inverlochy Castle Hotel, The Highlands], in a short humanist ceremony on Good Friday."
- "Iain M. Banks - Award Bibliography". isfdb database. Al von Ruff. 1995–2011. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Banks, Iain M.". The LOCUS Index to SF Awards. Mark R. Kelly and Locus Publications. 2000–2011. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Arthur C.Clarke Award Shortlists". The Arthur C Clarke Award. The Arthur C Clarke Award. 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis 1992" (in German). Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis. 1992. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Premio Italia". Italcon (in Italian). Delos Books e World SF. 2004. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Hugo Awards 2005". Hugo Awards. 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Prometheus Award for Best Novel -- Nominees". Libertarian Futurist Society. LFS. 2003–2012. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Iain Banks|
- Official site
- Iain Banks at Contemporary Writers
- Iain Banks at the Internet Book List
- Iain Banks at the Internet Movie Database
- Iain M. Banks at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database