Ian Rankin’s AAA Edinburgh

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature.

It’s doubtful he’s any regrets, though, as these days he’s the most widely-read crime novelist in the UK, with worldwide sales of more than 30 million for his Inspector Rebus novels, and more awards than any mantelpiece can hold.

  • What’s your most memorable capital event?

Probably The James Plays at the (2014) Edinburgh Festival. Stunning theatre at a time when history and political change were on everyone’s mind.

  • Who would you choose to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay?

Garbage, fronted by local hero Shirley Manson.Ian Rankin's Complete Rebus short stories

  • Favourite old-fashioned boozer?

Lazy option would be the Oxford Bar, but I also have a lot of time for the Blue Blazer, the Bow Bar, Kay’s, Bennets…

  • Favourite style-bar?

I don’t do style bars, unless The Blackbird counts.

“A tardis of a

city you’ll never

tire of exploring”


  • Favourite restaurant?

If I’m feeling flush, Ondine or Mark Greenaway. But a curry from Pataka does me most of the time.

  • Do you love or loathe the Festival?

I love and hate the Festival. The crowds and traffic can be wearisome, but the buzz makes up for it.

  • What restaurant would you recommend?

I’ve only been to Aizle once but loved it. And Nonna’s Kitchen in Morningside is a great neighbourhood Italian.

  • Favourite art gallery?

Ingleby Gallery is always worth a look.Edinburgh Book Festival logo

  • Favourite cinema?

Living in Merchiston I have lots of screens a short walk away. Dominion for comfort, Cameo for programming, Filmhouse for the bar.

  • Favourite live music venue?

Best acoustics are in Queen’s Hall, but I love the atmosphere at The Caves – great for emerging acts, blues and rock.

  • Favourite walk in or around the city?

The Water of Leith from Dean Village to Stockbridge. Or the Hermitage of Braid for a bit more wilderness.

  • Favourite shopping area?

I love Leith Walk for its infinite variety, including a couple of record shops.

  • Best piece of Edinburgh architecture?

The New Town. Look at it on a map – it’s wonderful. Structurally elegant but full of surprises when you start to walk around it.

  • What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the city:

Devolution and the coming of the Parliament. What a change from the Edinburgh of the 70s and 80s.

  • Favourite Festival?

Has to be the Book Festival in August. So many readers meeting so many writers. So many ideas sparking.

  • Favourite local hero?

Bruce Findlay. I used to haunt his record shops as a kid. Met him for the first time about 15 years ago. He’s in his 70s now but still passionate about music and his city. Heart as big as Edinburgh.

  • Sell Edinburgh in 10 words or fewer:

A Tardis of a city you’ll never tire of exploring.