Ian Rankin: famed Scottish writer (now-Edinburgh local), kingpin of crime fiction, creator and mastermind of the world-renowned Inspector Rebus series, and wonderful conversationalist and interviewee.

I had a very enjoyable time, from being whisked into the room by attentive ushers, directed immediately to a glass of wine, and offered a choice of any open seat in the house. The lighting was good, the guest was great, and the hosts, and their questions (and those of the audience), were sharp and insightful.

With convivial banter and chat, Rankin discussed his childhood and the origin of his relationship with literature, which grew out of time spent reading book upon book to escape the slow-moving and “stifling” village of Cardenden; the happenstance of his becoming a crime fiction writer (his first, still-unpublished, book was a comedy; the money was much better writing crime fiction novels); his characters, which he seems to live alongside, spending time with them or having conversations with them about how the current book should play out- Inspector Rebus is inspired by Rankin’s own life and is often utilized as a therapeutic instrument in dealing with certain experiences (e.g. growing old, having children), but Rankin testifies that many of the other characters are imbued with his personality as well, re: Rebus’s arch-nemesis ‘Big-Ger’ Cafferty.

Ian also explained how he writes his novels, which is remarkably similar to how many students write, whether they do by choice or wish that they didn’t: wait until the pressure builds up and the deadlines close in. Begin without an end in sight, or in mind. Bang out a first (or final) draft under these intense conditions, then hand over to your wife (or partner, or trusted friend) for editing.

This event was hosted at the Lyceum Rehearsal Room on 19 November 2019 by Lung Ha, Scotland’s leading theatre company working with people with learning disabilities. The talk was recorded, accessible at lungha.com/blog.

Find out more about Lung Ha, and their upcoming production, Castle Lennox, at lungha.com/production/overview.