Rankin lifts lid on RebusFest

Author Ian Rankin at the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh. Pic Ian Georgeson
Author Ian Rankin at the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh. Pic Ian Georgeson

Ian Rankin has unveiled plans for his first ever “RebusFest” in Edinburgh to mark 30 years of his best-selling crime novels.

The Cardenden-born author is personally curating the three-day festival, with the promised programme expected to be a celebration of music, art and film linked to the famously grizzled detective, as well as the 21 novels published to date.

Fans of the series are expected to travel from around the world for what is being billed as a chance to “explore Rebus’ world and discover the making of an iconic character.”

Live music, food and drink events are expected to feature in the line-up for the festival, which will run from 30 June till 2 July, when it is unveiled in March.

The event, which will include walking tours around some of Rebus’s favourite haunts, will also explore the historic and contemporary influences on the character, who has been gradually aged by the author since the first novel, Knots and Crosses, was published in 1987.

Other elements will include screenings of the TV adaptations of Rebus, as well as appearances by literary experts, well-known Rebus fans and other performers.

Rankin, who launched the new instalment in the series, Rather Be The Devil, in November, has previously warned fans not to expect a new novel during the 30th anniversary year.

However the festival will be taking place in the midst of a hectic worldwide touring schedule.

Rankin said: “I had no idea when I published Knots and Crosses in 1987 that Rebus would still be sharing his adventures - and misadventures - with me 30 years later.

“It’s a thrill to be spending 2017 celebrating the man, his legacy, and his taste in music. Central to this is RebusFest - a weekend festival in Edinburgh of all things Rebus.

“I just hope he enjoys all the hoopla - I need him to still be speaking to me afterwards.”

A spokeswoman for Rankin’s publisher, Orion, added: “RebusFest will reflect the many facets of the irascible old rogue – a fun-filled, entertaining and revealing weekend is guaranteed.”

Rebus appeared to have worked on his final case in the 2007 novel Exit Music, set during his final days as a working detective.

But the character has been called out of retirement four times since then by Rankin, including the most recent novel, which saw him face up to arch-nemesis “Big Ger” Cafferty once again.

Appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, Rankin warned “the clock is ticking big time” for Rebus.

He said: “There’s only so much I can do with him. I can’t believe in him as a private eye. I could go back in time. I could do early books, but I’d have to do historical research, which is boring. I could stop the clock. I’ve already slowed it down quite considerably.

“Any keen-eyed reader would go back to the first Rebus novel, see that he was 40 and think he is 70 now. But, in fact, he’s only about 65. Even at that, he’s still got mortality.”