“The size of the archive is substantial – in Library shelving terms it equates to 21 feet of archival material. Alongside working drafts of his novels, the archive also contains Rankin’s correspondence with other writers, and unsurprisingly, correspondence with police officers…. As a whole, the archive provides tremendous insight into the working mind of a novelist, from early career to the top of their game,” said manuscripts curator Dr. Colin McIlroy.
Highlights of the current exhibition include the manuscript draft of Black and Blue, Rankin’s 1997 breakthrough novel; Rankin’s PhD thesis proposal on fellow Scottish author Muriel Spark; and the only copy of a self-printed poetry collection called Incidental Music. Intriguingly, fans can also get a peek at the manuscript of “Summer Rites,” a dark comedy Rankin wrote in 1983 which remains unpublished. According to the NLS, his wife Miranda describes it as his best book.
The Rankin Files remains on view through April 29.