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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Top ranking for crime writer
Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin said he was "honoured" to be awarded the OBE in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours List.

The "King of Tartan Noir" has earned international fame for his books featuring Detective Inspector John Rebus.

He said: "It is good for Scottish fiction, Scottish writers, and for crime fiction in general, that we are getting recognised as writing proper, good literature, that is worth being honoured."

The Rebus novels, which were last year turned into a television series starring John Hannah, revolve around a middle-aged, boozy, divorced Edinburgh detective.

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin: "Honoured"

The hard-nosed inspector has a dark side to match the criminal underclass he finds in Scotland's capital city.

Rankin, who lives in Edinburgh with his wife Miranda and his sons, Jack and Kit, said 10-year-old Jack was going to take a bit of convincing about the OBE because he thinks it will sound "nerdy".

He said: "I am trying to convince him that the way to pronounce my name now is Ian Rankinobe, to rhyme with Obi wan Kinobe. That is the only way to get round it."

Rankin is a veteran campaigner for disabled people's rights.

His seven-year-old son Kit has Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes speech impairment, learning difficulties, a short attention span and problems with balance.

Achieving success

Born in 1960 in Cardenden in Fife, Rankin's father was a dock worker and his mother a dinner lady.

Encouraged by a schoolteacher to broaden his literary interests, he went on to do a degree in literature at Edinburgh University.

He started a research towards a PhD on another Scottish author, Muriel Spark, but by the mid-eighties, he was too engrossed in writing his own novels to finish it.

Before achieving success as a novelist, Rankin worked as a swineherd, a viticulturist, a taxman, a hi-fi journalist and as a collector of folk tales.

His first Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, was published in 1987.


It is good for Scottish fiction, Scottish writers, and for crime fiction in general, that we are getting recognised as writing proper, good literature, that is worth being honoured.

Ian Rankin
Rankin considered it an exercise in Scottish gothic but to his surprise it was reviewed as crime fiction.

He and his wife, Miranda Harvey, moved to London, where he became an assistant at the National Folktale Centre and later worked for a hi-fi magazine.

In 1990 they moved to rural France to create a pastoral idyll and produce dark literature.

It was not until five years ago, with the novel Black and Blue, that he combined commercial as well as critical success.

More Rebus novels followed and last year Rankin leapt to the top of the crime writers league after signing a deal worth 1.3m for two more Rebus books.

Following the publication of Resurrection Men in January, Rankin's next project is Beggars Banquet, a collection of 21 stories selected from 10 years of material from magazines, radio and journals, to be published next month.


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14 Jun 02 | Scotland
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