Ian Rankin donated his literary archive to the National Library of Scotland in 2019.

Ian Rankin archive ready for exploration

The literary archive of the UK’s biggest-selling crime novelist, Ian Rankin, will soon be available to view at the National Library of Scotland’s reading rooms.

Mr Rankin donated his archive to the Library in 2019, and also made a substantial donation towards the creation of a post to itemise and catalogue each item for the Library, which was carried out by Curator Rosemary Hall.

This Thursday (17 December), Rankin and Hall will discuss the archive and its contents over an exclusive online event, where they will also announce that the archive is ready for consultation.

Ms Hall said:

“It’s been a privilege to work with a collection of such international importance. What archivists don’t typically have is the ability to involve the author whose archive we are working with. This allowed me to gain a richer insight into the materials. It’s exciting that we can now share this with the public.”

During the curatorship, Hall meticulously surveyed approximately 50 boxes of material, and the cataloguing process has resulted in 387 files or manuscripts that people can view at the reading rooms. This includes correspondence with literary figures such as Ruth Rendell, as well as publishing companies, production companies and charities. Not surprisingly, police officers feature regularly in correspondence.

Described by Rankin as “a pretty complete author’s life, late-20th century-style”, the archive material dates from 1972–2018. The archive will be available at the Library’s reading rooms from Friday (18 December). Usual access applies – Library members can book a place at the Special Collections Reading Room through the Library’s website.

Tickets are still available for The Rankin Files: Lifting the Lid. The event is free, but booking is essential – places are available via Eventbrite

Ms Hall’s curatorial post was also made possible through generous donations from The W M Mann Foundation and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Contact Information

Barbara Burke

National Library of Scotland

+44131 623 3738

+447904 791002


Notes to editors

The National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture.

The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, music, moving images, official publications, science and technology, and modern and foreign collections.

The Library holds more than 30 million physical items dating back over 1000 years in addition to a growing library of digital material. Every week the Library collects around 5,000 new items. Most of these are received in terms of Legal Deposit legislation, allowing the Library to claim a copy of everything published in the UK and Ireland (everything from children’s books to science journals, election leaflets to magazines and websites). www.nls.uk / @natlibscot / facebook