16 February 1954
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
|Pen name||Iain M. Banks|
Iain Banks (born on 16 February 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife) is a Scottish writer. He writes mainstream fiction under Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Banks met his wife Annie in London, before the release of his first book. They married in Hawaii in 1992. However, he announced in early 2007 that, after 25 years together, they had separated. He currently lives in North Queensferry, a town on the north side of the Firth of Forth near the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.
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 traded all of the vehicles for a Lexus RX 400h hybrid - since replaced by a diesel Toyota Yaris - and vowed in the future to fly only in emergencies.
While interested in technology, he is reluctant to use the Internet or email, though he likes some PC computer games, including Civilization which provided minor inspiration to his stories.
A strong awareness of left-wing history shows in his writings. The argument that an economy of abundance renders anarchy and adhocracy viable (or even inevitable) attracts many as an interesting potential experiment, were it ever to become testable. He was a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence.
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. In an interview in Socialist Review he claimed he did this after he "abandoned the idea of crashing my Land Rover through the gates of Fife dockyard, after spotting the guys armed with machine guns." He relates 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 in a similar vein.
Interviewed on Mark Lawson's BBC Four series, first broadcast in the UK on 14 November 2006, Banks explained why his novels are published under two different names. His parents wished to name him Iain Menzies Banks but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and he was officially registered as Iain Banks. Despite this he continued to use his middle name, and it may be considered official by adoption. It was as Iain M. Banks that he submitted The Wasp Factory for publication, however his editor asked if he would mind dropping the 'M' as it appeared "too fussy". The editor also raised concerns about possible confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a minor romantic novelist in P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves novels. Following his three mainstream novels, his publishers agreed to publish his first SF novel, Consider Phlebas. To distinguish between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the 'M'.
His other, non-Culture, science fiction novels are:
Banks writes less short fiction but has published one collection, as Iain M. Banks:
Banks has written a number of introductions for works by other writers including:
Banks has contributed to a number of publications, including:
He was a semi-regular music reviewer for Marc Riley's Rocket Science radio show on BBC 6 Music. He was the subject of a South Bank Show television programme broadcast on 16 November 1997, subtitled The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks, which concentrated on his mainstream work. The Curse Of Iain Banks, a play written by Maxton Walker, was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1999, with Banks contributing as a voice on tape. He has appeared on the BBC's political discussion television programme Question Time.
At the beginning of 2006 Banks captained a team of writers to victory in a special series of University Challenge on BBC2, beating a team of actors 185-105 (1 January 2006), and then the 'news' team 190-45 in the final (2 January 2006). He also won an edition of Celebrity Mastermind, taking "Malt whisky & the distilleries of Scotland" as his specialist subject on BBC1 on 2 January 2006.
Iain Menzies Banks (born February 16, 1954, in Dunfermline, Fife), officially Iain Banks, is a Scottish writer. As Iain M. Banks he writes science fiction; as Iain Banks he writes literary fiction.