Literary Birthday – 16 February – Iain Banks

Iain Banks was born 16 February 1954 and died 9 June 2013.


  1. As a writer, you get to play, you get to alter time, you get to come up with the smart lines and the clever comebacks you wish you’d thought of.
  2. You have to have something worth saying and then the ability to say it – writing’s a double skill, really.
  3. I’m very self-disciplined, actually. It’s easy because I’ve always been able to write lots and lots of words really quickly. I can write about 3,000 words a day.
  4. As long as a film stays unmade, the book is entirely yours, it belongs to the writer. As soon as you make it into a film, suddenly more people see it than have ever read the book.
  5. Empathise with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot.
  6. I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.
  7. There has seldom if ever been a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact; there is never a scarcity of idiots.
  8. Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better you get. Don’t try to perfect as you go along, just get to the end of the damn thing. If you try to polish every sentence there’s a chance you’ll never get past the first chapter.
  9. It’s a library, only the stupid or the evil are afraid of those.
  10. Half the fun of writing a novel is finding out from other people later on what you actually meant.

Iain Banks was a Scottish writer. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. His best-known book is The Wasp Factory. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 16th February 2013