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Thursday, 04/Sep/2008

Islay Book Festival This Weekend With Iain Banks

If you kept an eye on the Islay countdowns in the sidebar (that's the right column) you will have noticed that the Islay Book Festival will kick off this Saturday. If you didn't you know it now. While it won't be his first visit to Islay I think the biggest coup they have pulled off is the attendance of Iain (M) Banks:

The first rumours were out as early as February, the news were then confirmed in May with an entry on his blog. He writes under two guises, as Iain Banks and Iain M Banks (i.e. without and with the initial). When writing as Iain M Banks he's writing science fiction, something I can't comment on as it's not a genre I'm interested in.

But I'm much more interested in his other books, the books he's writing as Iain Banks. The Crow Road is one of my favourite books, from the first sentence on:

It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach's Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.

No link to Islay or Jura although in the opening sequence of the BBC adaptation of The Crow Road to my knowledge you can spot Jura for a few seconds as well as see a bit of Tarbert. A few more locations you might be aware of from travelling to Islay are mentioned in Scotland the Movie. Iain Banks has also written about Islay though:

In his non-fiction book Raw Spirit - In Search of the Perfect Dram he travels around Scotland to find the best whisky, the perfect dram, which obviously includes a visit to Islay. I'm sure he'll enjoy his return to Islay and enjoy the odd wee dram, judging from the book Ardbeg and Laphroaig are likely to be among them.

Other authors coming are listed on the festival website, but I must admit that I don't know any of them. If you are attending the festival have a great time, if you are unable to be there (like me), may be just enjoy a good book with a wee dram this weekend?

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