Iain Banks (born on 16 February 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife) 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. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Banks’s father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was a professional ice skater. Banks studied English, philosophy, and psychology at the University of Stirling.
After attending the University of Stirling, Banks moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, living in Edinburgh and then Fife.
Banks met his future wife Annie in London, before the 1984 release of his first book. They married in Hawaii in 1992. It was announced in early 2007 that, after 15 years of marriage, they had separated. Annie died in 2009, two months after their divorce had become final. Banks currently lives in North Queensferry, a village on the north side of the Firth of Forth, with the published author and founder of the Dead by Dawn film festival Adèle Hartley. The two have been together since 2006.
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.
Initially Banks was reluctant to use the Internet or email, although he liked some PC computer games, including Civilization which provided minor inspiration for his stories. Now, however, he uses the Internet and email extensively. His work computer is not connected to the Internet. Next to it is an Internet-enabled computer used for research and email.
A strong awareness of history shows in his writings. 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.
Banks is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society (see Quotations) and a Distinguished Supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland. He has spoken out in support of Scottish independence.
In June 2010 Banks called for a cultural and educational boycott on Israel following its raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of nine protesters. Banks said in a letter to the Guardian newspaper 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,” Banks wrote. “[…] 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”.
Interviewed on Mark Lawson’s BBC Four series, first broadcast in Britain 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; 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’.
Iain M. Banks – Consider Phlebas (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Player Of Games (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Use Of Weapons (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The State Of The Art (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Excession (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Inversions (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Look To Windward (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Matter (read by Toby Longworth)
Iain M. Banks – Surface Detail (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Hydrogen Sonata (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Algebraist (read by Geoffrey Amis)
Iain M. Banks – Against A Dark Background (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Transition (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Wasp Factory (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Crow Road (read by ???)
Iain M. Banks – Complicity (read by ???)
Iain M. Banks – The Bridge (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Whit (read by ???)
Iain M. Banks – Espedair Street (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Business (read by Barbara Rosenblat)
Iain M. Banks – Dead Air (read by Peter Capaldi)
Iain M. Banks – The Steep Approach To Garbadale (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Stonemouth (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – The Quarry (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Feersum Endjinn (read by Peter Kenny)
Iain M. Banks – Raw Spirit (read by Tom Cotcher)