Ian Rankin is to discuss the role whisky has played in his work and life at this summer’s Islay Book Festival, organisers announced on Friday as tickets for a special event at Laphroaig Distillery went on sale.
In the atmospheric setting of the 200-year-old distillery’s Filling Store, Rankin will be chatting to leading whisky writer Dave Broom about his passion for single malt and how he passed it on to his most famous creation, Inspector John Rebus.
The writer, a long-term fan of Islay’s famous whiskies, will be making what he has described as a pilgrimage in the footsteps of his late friend, Iain Banks, who wrote a much-loved travelogue, Raw Spirit, about Scotland’s whisky hotspots.
“Basically Iain got to drive around all the distilleries and a lot of us were kicking ourselves wondering, ‘Why didn’t we think of that first?’”, Rankin told the festival’s website.
“As writers, we like stories to be attached to things and with whisky there is always a story attached to the particular distillery or the particular part of the country where the whisky is made.”
Laphroaig has particular resonance as it was one of Rebus’s favourite tipples in the now-retired Edinburgh officer’s younger days.
“I like Laphroaig so I thought Rebus would like it as well,” Rankin said. “He likes strong meat and strong drink, he likes strong flavours … he likes nothing in moderation and Laphroaig has a really powerful flavour to it. It is not for everybody but it is the sort of thing that would really appeal to someone like Rebus.”
The 30th August distillery session will be one of two chances Islay Book Festival goers have to hear from the master of crime fiction.
The following day at the Ramsay Hall in Port Ellen, Rankin will be reading from his latest bestseller In A House of Lies and reflecting on how the hugely popular Rebus novels have charted momentous change in the Scotland of the last three decades.
The 2019 Islay Book Festival takes place from 29th August-1st September.