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Biography: Ian Rankin - The King of Crime Fiction

Updated on February 15, 2015

United Kingdom’s bestselling crime writer, Ian Rankin grew up in a small coal-mining town in east-central Scotland. He was born in 1960 in the Kingdom of Fife.

The first of his family to enroll in university, Ian Ranking studied English Literature and Language at the University of Edinburgh in 1982. From 1983 to 1986 when he was supposed to working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature, he spent the three years writing novels.

Before becoming a novelist (after graduating from university), Ian Rankin worked on a number of jobs which ranged from a hi-fi magazine writer, grape-picker, taxman, alcohol researcher, a swineherd and punk musician.

He met his future wife at the University and they got married in 1986, and have two sons.


Prior to turning to novels, Ian Rankin had won prizes in poetry and short story writing, his first novel ‘The Food’ was published in 1986. The following year, his second novel ‘Knots and Crosses was published. This was the first of the series novels of Ian Ranking to include the renowned Detective Rebus, known as Inspector Rebus.

Inspector Rebus is depicted in Ian Rankin novels as “a flawed but resolutely humane detective.” He is portrayed as a “a complex and troubled man, irrevocably tinged with the sense of being an outsider and, potentially, unable to escape being a ‘justified sinner’ himself.” (Mortal Causes)

Ian Ranking has received a number of awards, among them:

Chandler-Fullbright Award, and elected as Hawthorndorn Fellow

Received four Crimer Writers’ Association Dagger Award

CWA Cartier Diamon Dagger (2005), for Lifetime Achievement

America’s, Edgar Award for his novel, Resurrection Men

Recipient of honorary degrees from University of Albertay, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Open and Hull.

Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin | Source

His books have been translated in over 30 languages.

Some of the books written by Ian Rankin are:

The food, Watchman, Doors Open and The Complaints

In addition, he has written novels as Jack Harvey which are: Witch Hunt, Bleeding Hearts and Blood Hunt.

He has written a non-fiction book ‘Rebus’s Scotland’ and short stories ‘A Good Hanging and Other Stories’ and Beggars Banquet.’

Inspector Rebus series include: Knots and Crosses, Mortal Causes, The Black Book, Dead Souls, Resurrection Men, A Question of Blood and The Naming of the Dead.


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