Interview by Anastasia Kamvysi. Photo by Yannis Bournias

“I grew up in a village that felt very tribal. Everyone was from the same class, many were related to each other (by marriage or by blood). It was a safe place but a tough place to keep secrets – everyone knew everything about everyone else! I felt different, in that I was quiet and studious and liked to write poetry. I would never tell anyone I did this – I would hide my poetry in my bedroom. And I became a chameleon, looking as though I fitted in, because I didn’t want people to think I was ‘weird’. I used my imagination as a way of escaping from this fairly claustrophobic world, and that was the start of my life as a writer of fiction.

Describe yourself as a teen in 3 words.
Awkward; quiet; hard-working.

You went to University in Edinburgh and then, I guess, you start your love affair with the city. What do you think you owe this city?
I didn’t know Edinburgh very well when I arrived here as a student. So I began writing about the city to try to make some sense of it. I got interested in Scottish Literature and began to read books inspired by Edinburgh, books by authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, James Hogg, and Muriel Spark. The first Rebus novel was really a novel about Edinburgh, to show it was still a Jekyll and Hyde city, a place of great wealth and culture but also a city with real social problems”.

Ian Rankin, acclaimed crime novelist and creator of the notorious John Rebus character and a regular at the Oxford bar in Young Street, Edinburgh, describes himself as a teen as awkward, quiet and hard-working. Is the combination of these three characteristics the key to his global success, making him one of Scotland’s most famous and beloved authors? (NOMAS, Scotland p.22)