Tributes pour in for ‘irreplaceable’ Iain Banks

Tributes pour in for ‘irreplaceable’ Iain Banks

Iain Banks' final novel The Quarry will be published on 20th June, following the author's death yesterday aged 59, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer. Banks saw finished copies of the book three weeks ago.

Banks' publisher Little, Brown announced his death of behalf of his wife Adele. The statement said: "Banks has been one of the country's best loved novelists for both his mainstream and science fiction books since the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. After his own recent announcement of his cancer Iain Banks was hugely moved by the public support for him via his website." Little, Brown said: "Just three weeks ago he was presented with finished copies and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world." Banks first announced his diagnosis in a statement online issued on 3rd April.

Tributes have poured in for award-winning author who also wrote science-fiction novels under the name Iain M Banks,and who was perhaps best known for works including The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity. His publisher added: "Iain Banks' ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humour made him unique. He is an irreplaceable part of the literary world."

Banks was celebrated in obituaries published over the weekend. In the Guardian, his interaction with fans was highlighted: "There can have been few novelists of recent years who were more aware of what their readers thought of their books; there is a frequent sense in his novels of an author teasing, testing and replying to a readership with which he was pretty familiar."

In the Telegraph, the obituary acknowledged his "popularity and critical success" in the fields of literary fiction as well as science fiction, and remembered the "immediate notoriety" of his first book, The Wasp Factory.

The BBC noted how "he matched critical acclaim with mass market popularity".

Fellow authors also reacted to the news of his death. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's "Today" show this morning, Ian Rankin described Banks as "fascinating, curious and full of life". He said: "He didn't take things too seriously, and in a way I'm happy that he refused to take death too seriously-he could still joke about it. I think we all thought he would have a bit longer than he got.

"What made him a great writer was that he was childlike; he had a curiosity about the world. He was restless, he wanted to transmit that in his work, and he treated cancer with a certain amount of levity, the same that made him a great writer. You never knew what you were going to get, every book was different."

In a blog post, author and friend Neil Gaiman described Banks' work as "mordant, surreal and fiercely intelligent. In person, he was funny and cheerful and always easy to talk to."

He also tweeted: "Iain Banks is dead. I'm crying in an empty house. A good man and a friend for almost 30 years."

Val McDermid said: "Iain Banks, RIP. Grateful for what he left us, angry for what he'll miss and we'll miss. And now I'm going to pour the best dram in the house and raise a toast to Iain Banks for all the hours of delight and provoked thought".

John O'Farrell said: "So sad to hear of death of brilliant and charming Iain Banks. The Wasp Factory was the first book I finished and then immediately read again."

Mark Billingham said: "Knowing it was coming does not make it any less terrible. RIP the unique and irreplaceable Iain Banks."