Scots author 'right at home' in Dunedin

Crime writer Ian Rankin addresses the audience at the Dunedin College of Education yesterday....
Crime writer Ian Rankin addresses the audience at the Dunedin College of Education yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A former punk rocker, swineherd and now bestselling author opened the 2012 Scottish Festival in Dunedin yesterday.

More than 300 people attended the talk by Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin at the Dunedin College of Education.

He felt "right at home" in the Edinburgh of the South, Mr Rankin said.

"Flying over New Zealand, the contours of the land and colours and textures feel just like Scotland. But, there's no drinking culture here; that's the problem," he said to loud laughter, as he sipped from a bottle of beer during the talk.

However, life as a best-selling writer wasn't all beer and skittles, he said.

"The catch-22 of being a successful author is you spend more time talking about yourself, rather than writing the books that made you famous in the first place."

University of Otago associate director of Irish and Scottish studies, Prof Liam McIlvanney, introduced his countryman as "one of the finest crime writers on the planet".

"Ian Rankin is a European phenomenon, who accounts for 10% of all the crime writing in Europe."

The 52-year-old has worked as a grape-picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, journalist and punk musician, but is best known for his novels about fictional Edinburgh policeman Inspector Rebus.

He was returning to the South Island for a motoring holiday with his wife, Miranda, early next year, Mr Rankin revealed.

After the talk, which was organised by the university Irish and Scottish studies centre and Dunedin Public Libraries, he signed copies of his latest novel, Standing in Another Man's Grave.

The 2012 Scottish Festival culminates in the 150th highland games at the Caledonian Ground on Sunday.




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