Monday, 10 June 2013
It's some years ago now since I had the pleasure of being in the audience for 'An Evening With Iain Banks'.
On impulse a friend and myself decided to visit the Edinburgh Book Festival and having spent the day absorbing the atmosphere, listening to readings and discovering authors, we were having tea in a local cafe, when a woman approached us and asked if we would like her tickets for the Iain Banks event. (It wasn't hard for her to identify book lovers because we had our Edinburgh Book Festival carrier bags and were viewing our purchases at the time). The woman had to return home because of an urgent problem with her mother and refused to accept any recompense.
We were aware the event had been booked out for months so jumped at the chance to hear a 'famous' author, although neither of us has much interest in the science-fiction genre associated with Mr Banks.
It was a memorable evening. Iain Banks came across as a modest, deeply intelligent man with a superb sense of humour. At the end of the evening both my friend and myself were so inspired, we vowed to read all his novels and my particular favourites are his 'Culture' series, although The Crow Road comes a close second.
It was only a couple of months ago he announced he was suffering from terminal cancer and didn't expect to 'last more than a year'. That hellish disease has now claimed the life of another - long before his allotted three score years and ten. He leaves behind a collection of literary works which will be read and enjoyed for many generations to come. A worthy legacy.
R.I.P Mr Banks.