Sad news about Iain Banks

Many of you will have read today that the author Iain Banks has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The public sadness has been overwhelming as expected - he is a great writer and his books have been read and appreciated by many.

Having known Iain for more than 20 years, first as his publicist and then as a friend, I can honestly say that he is of the kindest, funniest, most generous and most loving people we could expect to grace this planet. Over the years we spent many hours travelling around the UK together on his publicity tours and he was always good humoured and willing to put on a show for his fans. In fact, he used to always say in interviews: "I'm a fan of my fans."

Since leaving publishing, one of my great pleasures has been mini holidays up in Scotland with Iain and his girlfriend Adele. When I lost my partner Chris to cancer in 2009, they paid for and helped me set up a tribute site and wrote a lovely message in remembrance.

We all think our friends will be around forever - cherish your friendships, whoever they are.

Michelle Hodgson
Festival Director