Ian Rankin ‘terrified’ ahead of Rebus festival

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin
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IAN Rankin has admitted he is “terrified” about a festival he’s launching next week dedicated to his fictional detective John Rebus.

Events will be staged across the city over three days to celebrate 30 years since the first Rebus book.

But Merchiston-based Ian, 57, said: “The books have been translated into more than 30 languages and I know of fans from many countries who are coming.

“It’s terrifying because I’m going to be on the ground the whole weekend and if things aren’t going to plan, it’ll be me that gets pelters.

“At the moment I’m thinking ‘What could possibly go wrong? What’s the worst case scenario?’.

“I’m one of life’s worriers, but hopefully everything will go right and everybody will have a good time.”

RebusFest takes place in the capital from Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2.

Among the events are a Q&A session between Ian and real-life officers, a whisky tasting at the Caledonian Hotel and Rebus walks, which sold out within days. Ian is also compiling scores of questions for a Rebus quiz he will host alongside comedian Phil Jupitus.

And, like most of the events, he’ll be on hand for a special music night which Ian has admitted is likely to be an emotional affair.

“The support act is a guy called Michael Weston King who’ll be doing a solo acoustic set,” explained Ian. “He worked in the past with a friend of mine called Jackie Leven who died a few years ago.

“Michael’s going to do his own material but also play at least a couple of Jackie’s songs.

“We’ll have a wee chat on stage about Jackie and it’ll be quite poignant.

“When I started writing the Rebus comeback books it was just after Jackie died and I named the first two after lines in Jackie’s songs. I think both Michael and myself will be wishing he was there.

“He’d have had a ball. He was a cracking guy to hang around with.”

Meanwhile, Ian revealed progress is being made with plans to bring Rebus back to our TV screens. Screenwriter Gregory Burke has been brought on board.

“He’s a really busy man,” says Ian. “Hollywood wants him, so I’m really glad he’s involved. I had a meeting with him in a pub in Edinburgh and we got on like a house on fire.

“He’s now away reading all the books and deciding if he wants to do one book or stories from different books. We haven’t discussed what age Rebus will be, but I’d imagine Ken Stott will still be in the frame for it if he’s available. He’d be on my shortlist.”

Ian admitted that he was slowing down when it comes to his writing and, with Rebus a retired copper in the books, he says he’s not sure how much more he can do with him.

“I take it from book to book, but I can’t envisage him in a care home, in an electric wheelchair solving crimes.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com