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Ian Rankin archive.

Identifier: MSS.50301-50691

Scope and Contents

The archive of Ian Rankin represents the author’s extensive creative output as well as his wide ranging cultural interests. The archive consists largely of literary manuscripts and typescripts for the majority of his works. Some personal papers are also held. Of particular significance are his crime novels, most notably those of the Inspector Rebus series. Also included are more than 100 short stories, most from the early part of his career in the 1980s; assorted other creative works, such as poetry, radio and stage plays, and lyrics; lectures and speeches; and examples of his journalistic output. The archive also contains evidence of his early interest in literary pursuits, including his first award for writing – second place in a poetry competition - when still at school in 1978, just before he turned eighteen.

The archive offers evidence of Rankin’s reception as a writer throughout his career. Included are numerous reviews of his works, as well as articles on, and interviews with him. Rankin’s novels have been translated into numerous languages and have been best sellers on several continents. He has been the recipient of many awards for his contributions to literature, including the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger and Diamond Dagger, the Chandler-Fulbright Award, the Edgar Award, and the Edinburgh Award. He was appointed OBE in 2002.

Rankin’s professional life is further illustrated through the correspondence within the archive. The correspondence mostly consists of letters to the author from professional contacts, musicians, charities, and fans; some letters also relate to his private life.

Born in Cardenden, a mining village in Fife, Rankin’s place of upbringing served as inspiration for his first novel, ‘The Flood’ (1986). Following his graduation from Beath High School, Rankin attended the University of Edinburgh from 1978-1982, where he received a degree of Master of Arts in English Literature. He then spent three years working on a PhD on Muriel Spark. While he did not complete the PhD, during this time he wrote his first three novels, including ‘Knots and Crosses’(1987), the first in the Inspector Rebus series. Also during this period he worked on his thriller ‘Westwind’ (1990), and numerous short stories and other creative works.

In 1986 Rankin and his wife, Miranda Harvey, moved from Edinburgh to London where, among other jobs, he worked as a journalist for the ‘Hi-Fi Review’ from 1988-1990. In 1990, in a move to allow Rankin to pursue writing full time, the couple bought a house in the Dordogne, France. During his time in France Rankin published ten novels and an anthology of short stories. The family’s two sons were born in France and the family remained there until 1996, when they moved back to Edinburgh.

With the publication of Rankin’s eighth Rebus novel, ‘Black and Blue’ (1997), his reputation as a crime writer greatly increased. In 2000 the first Rebus adaptation for television was produced. By 2019, when the archive was presented to the Library, Rankin had published 34 novels, 22 of which are part of the Rebus series.


  • Creation: 1972-2018.



387 Volumes

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700