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Iain Banks's final book – of poetry – to be published in 2015


Collection will include work by Banks's friend Ken MacLeod and will come out on the anniversary of his death in February

The final work by Iain Banks – a collection of poetry by the late author – will be released next February, his publisher has announced.

Banks died last June, two months after revealing he had terminal cancer. He would have been 60 on 16 February, and his publisher Little, Brown said it would mark the date next year by publishing a collection of poems by Banks and his friend and fellow science fiction author Ken MacLeod, who will edit it.

Banks spoke in his final interview about wishing to have a book of poetry published. He also revealed that the novel A Song of Stone was originally written as a poem, and pointed to the "bits here and there" he had already written. "Poems top and tail the story in Use of Weapons for example," he said.

"The poems are a part of the desperate urge to get things that were supposed to be long-term projects out the way. I'm going to see if I can get a book of poetry published before I kick the bucket. I've got about 50 I'm proud of.

"I've been trying to convince Ken MacLeod that he should come in with me on this as I've always loved Ken's poetry. That, and it gives me cover. It stops the book being what it really is, which is a bit of a vanity project.

"If Ken comes in it will look more respectable, but I don't think he's falling for it. We'll see if it happens; I just don't know. I think my poetry's great but then I would, wouldn't I? But whether any respectable publisher will think so, that's another matter. I'll self-publish if I have to; sometimes I have no shame."

Banks's final novel, The Quarry, was published last June. "This is a novel that's perched at the dangerous edge of things, looking down. It's an urgent novel and an important one and, finally, it's all just so desperately sad," wrote Alex Preston in the Observer.

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