Iain Banks ‘had planned to publish his own poetry’

Iain Banks wrote the poems between the ages of 19 and 27. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Iain Banks wrote the poems between the ages of 19 and 27. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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AUTHOR Iain Banks thought he would have to publish his own poetry himself before he fell ill, according to one of his closest friends.

Ken MacLeod said the late writer had described the prospect of a book of poetry as a “vanity project”.

Banks approached his fellow science fiction writer in the autumn of 2012, before he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, with the idea of the pair publishing a joint volume of their work.

The Banks poems, the first he had had published, saw the light of day earlier this year.

He wrote them between the ages of 19 and 27, before he had his first novel, The Wasp Factory, published.

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Banks was 59 when he died in June 2013 – just two months after he announced he had terminal gall bladder cancer.

MacLeod said: “I think he would have been pleased that his poetry was published, in a rather dry way.

“He was expecting to self-publish them – he thought it was a vanity project.”

He went on: “Well before Iain had any idea that he was ill, he started talking of getting his poems published. I forgot all about it but not long afterwards he sent me an electronic document of his poems.

“He started them in high school and continued all the way through university.

“He was a student of English literature and thought it was just something that you did as young male student, like buying pints in the student union bar and chatting up girls.”