New Writers Awards 2016: Iain Bain


Iain has spent most of his life dealing, in one way or another, with the written word. He spent several years working as a desk editor for publishers, mainly in London and the South East of England, before returning to Glasgow, his home city, where he worked for BBC Information. He has, throughout, pursued his love of words and music, knocking around in bands, writing, playing and singing songs and now concentrating on written fiction.  

Iain’s writing has been published, performed and broadcast. One of his short stories appeared in the Scottish Arts Council/HarperCollins collection Looking for the Spark. His articles, reviews and interviews have appeared in print, and some of his drama work has been staged in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Turning to comedy, he was one of the lead writers on a BBC Radio Scotland sketch show called The Why Front, which ran for four series, wrote all the comedy songs for the series Ellis Island and The Ellis and Clarke Show and his comedy-drama series Close was also broadcast.

Iain has just completed his first novel Brackenrib, a Scottish comic fantasy, literary road movie, adult fable sort of thing and is busy planning the next. 

Writing sample

It’s a remarkable evening. Isn’t it a remarkable evening? The light has a soft quality…the crepuscular light. All things seem possible in such light. All things.

She is pausing. Casually now, easy. Sangfroid and insouciance… sangfroid and insouciance…

It is a good word, isn’t it? Crepuscular: meaning twilight, dusk….

Don’t lecture her, you clown.

Are you visiting our city for a particular reason? I don’t mean to pry, it’s just that…Let me offer you some advice. Always look up. Always look up is my advice to you. Let me explain. At the level of the street everything is homogeneous and banal. You could be anywhere. Above and beyond is where real character is to be found. There are great rewards for he …for he or she who is prepared to look beyond. The architecture will reward the effort. When you venture out this evening, or better yet in the morning, you will soon see.

Now you just sound smug. You’re hopeless. You have no hope. Yet she is still listening. Wonderful eyes, just wonderful.

We are too concerned with the immediate, with surfaces, don’t you think? The young people of today particularly. The young people of today in my view don’t have the…perspicacity. You and I, on the other hand...

She winced. Oh Jesus, what are you saying, man?

Not that you are not… I didn’t mean to suggest…

You moron.

Generally speaking, individuals not in the first flush…individuals of that characterisation, they will have learned to eschew impressions formed in the moment and practise reflection and mature judgement. That is my experience at any rate. On the whole. Generally speaking.

You are losing her.

Let me introduce myself. Ronald. It is my intention to extend the hand of friendship…metaphorically, I mean. You don’t have to…unless… 


Iain says:

"I am seriously chuffed to be given this award. This is a very welcome opportunity for me to get some informed advice with polishing my novel, perhaps even learning how to describe it better, hopefully taking it further, and also finding my way into the next book. I am very grateful to the Scottish Book Trust and eagerly looking forward to the year ahead."