Ian James Rankin, OBE, DL, FRSE (born 28 April 1960) is a Scottish crime writer, best known for his Inspector Rebus novels.
Born in Cardenden, Fife, Rankin was educated at Beath High School, Cowdenbeath and the University of Edinburgh, where he remained after graduation to work on a doctorate, which he did not complete, on Muriel Spark. He has taught at the university and retains an involvement with the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lived in Tottenham, London for four years and then rural France for six while he developed his career as a novelist. Before becoming a full-time novelist he worked as a grape-picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, hi-fi journalist, college secretary and punk musician.
Rankin did not set out to be a crime writer. He thought his first novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek were mainstream books, more in keeping with the Scottish traditions of Robert Louis Stevenson and even Muriel Spark. He was disconcerted by their classification as genre fiction. Scottish novelist Allan Massie, who tutored Rankin while Massie was writer-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh, reassured him by saying, 'Do you think John Buchan ever worried about whether he was writing literature or not ?..
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