Breathes there a man,
with soul so dead,
who never to himself
“This is my own.
My native land”.
When I first launched the tour in 1996 there was the usual indifference to new arts related projects in Edinburgh, suffice to say that my own enthusiasm and that of my partners at the time, one of whom was 'struggling" with his own PHD on Iain's work at Stirling University, where Iain also was a student, was never matched by the elected powers of the day.
It was an exciting day for us when amidst all the other aspects of our frenetic launch of The Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, I received a note from his publishers confirming that Iain would be delighted to attend! There's endorsement and there's endorsement at the right time!
Iain was a willing and enthusiastic participant on our first tour and I enjoyed sharing a few pints with him at Milnes Bar (the writers pub) and our closing pub in those days. His cannon of work, whether through the series of cult following "cultural novels" or his astounding sci-fi out-put, ingrained a new "Banksian" slant on a literary landscape already pregnant with great historical novels and emerging new writing, creating a voice that was both of it's time, prosaic and edgy, and a blazing narrative, which few could match or imitate!
His contribution set a benchmark of awe, in terms of contemporary writing in Scotland and rather seamlessly found it's place in The Scottish psyche. As much as I'm saddened by his premature passing, I have nothing but admiration and indeed further awe for the dignified and graceful handling, the ultimate acceptance of his death, as highlighted in the recent BBC Kirsty Wark interview or the piece in The Guardian of 15.6.13.
Thanks Iain for being such an inspirational and generous human being and a Scot with a unique perspective who will be remembered by many generations to come.
Morris Paton 15/6/13