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Parallel Worlds – an exhibition of material from the Iain Banks Archive

The University of Stirling Archives is delighted to announce a new exhibition presenting a selection of foreign editions of Iain Banks’ novels from his personal collection.  The exhibition highlights the international appeal of Banks’ fiction and shows the variety of ways his work was presented in different countries around the world.  The volumes on display are part of a larger collection of almost 200 editions of Banks’ work translated into a range of languages and designed to reflect the tastes of readers in a range of markets including France, Germany, Israel, Russia and South Korea.

Detail from a 1988 Japanese edition of The Player of Games.

Detail from a Japanese edition of The Player of Games.

The exhibition also features a book sculpture commemorating Iain Banks which was presented to the University by the Edinburgh International Book Festival last September.  The sculpture is part of a set produced by an anonymous artist celebrating literature and the love of words. It represents Banks’ 1992 novel The Crow Road and is accompanied by a tribute to the writer from author Ian Rankin. The exhibition is on display in the Archives & Special Collections area of the University Library and runs until Friday 4th April.

The book sculpture which forms the centrepiece of the exhibition.

The book sculpture which forms the centrepiece of the exhibition.

Iain Banks was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Scottish novelists of his generation, and an alumnus of the University of Stirling. The University is delighted to be working with his estate to collect and preserve an archive of his working papers and make this material available to researchers with an interest in his work.

Interviewed by the University for an alumni profile Banks reflected on his time at Stirling:

“I did get in a lot of writing… as well as a fair amount of walking in the hills. What I remember most keenly is the wonderful feeling of freedom of being there, and the sheer intoxication of living and working in a place devoted to learning, to the pursuit of knowledge. I still smile when I think of the place, the time, and my years at Stirling were some of the happiest and most productive of my life. All that, plus I got to be an extra in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, How cool was that?”

Some examples of Banks’ student writing can be found amongst the University’s own archives in the pages of the creative writing journal Cairn. Launched in Spring 1973 Cairn featured poetry and prose written by students and staff of the University, including the poet Norman McCaig. The journal is one of several student titles which are held in the University Archives along with a full run of the student newspaper Brig, which was first published in 1969.

Cover of the first issue of Cairn, Spring 1973

Cover of the first issue of Cairn, Spring 1973.