Scottish writers talking II: in interview

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Tuckwell Press, Aug 1, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 207 pages
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These long interviews with very different Scottish writers do not aim at the topical, but to produce a thoughtful window on each writer's mind and work. Recorded at intervals over sixteen years, they go at the writer's chosen pace. Writers relish them. Naomi Mitchison had not met anyone who'd read so much of her work for many years, and she enjoyed the discussion. Iain Crichton Smith incorporated the conversation seamlessly into his ceaseless exploration of life, art, beliefs and poetry. Bernard MacLaverty was his endlessly amusing self, causing interviewer hilarity while giving a reasonably serious account of his writing career which will fascinate readers of his latest novel, The Anatomy School. Iain Banks told of a young writer coming to publication, from the shadow of the Forth Bridge to frustrations in London, but at last to The Wasp Factory, and Alan Spence was entertaining and enlightening as well as funny on subjects from his boyhood in Govan and his introduction to meditation, to his work for the theatre.

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Bernard MacLaverty
Naomi Mitchison
Iain Crichton Smith

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About the author (2002)

Iain M. Banks has been acclaimed as the most imaginative British novelist of his generation. Born in Scotland in 1954, Banks pursued a variety of careers before turning to writing. The child of a naval officer and a former professional ice skater, he studied English at Stirling University while working as a construction worker and gardener, among other jobs. After taking a degree, he hitchhiked throughout Europe and Morocco before spending a year as a testing technician for British Steel. Over the late 1970's and early '80s, Banks visited the United States, worked for IBM in Scotland and moved to London to stay with friends while writing his first novel. Banks's first novel The Wasp Factory (1984), concerns a sixteen-year-old serial killer. Praised for its imagination, dialogue and black humor, it was selected in a British poll as one of the top 100 novels of the century. Banks followed it with Walking on Glass (1985), which examines three obsessed people who meet in a menagerie of conspiracy and torture. The Bridge (1986) is about a man, unconscious after an accident, who travels through a complex dream world and ultimately must choose whether to return to reality. Banks' other novels include Complicity (1995), which explores the themes of murder and revenge in the context of a thriller; and A Song of Stone (1997), about a pair of aristocrats in the aftermath of a European war. Among his science fiction novels are Against a Dark Background (1993), Feersum Endjinn (1994) and Excession (1996). Inversions (1998), Look to Windward (2000), Matter (2008) and Surface Detail 2010.

Bernard MacLaverty lives in Glasgow.

Naomi Mitchison, author of over 70 books, died in 1999 at the age of 101. She was born in, and lived in, Scotland but traveled widely throughout the world. In the 1960s she was adopted as adviser and mother of the Bakgatla tribe in Botswana.

Iain Crichton Smith is the author of "Ends and Beginnings," "The Human Face," "The Leaf and the Marble," "Selected" "Poems," and "Selected Stories,

Alan Spence is one of Scotland's leading poets and playwrights.