IT WAS standing room only when best-selling author Iain Banks opened the refurbished Gourock Library last night.

Around 200 fans packed the room to hear the former Gourock High school pupil read from his new novel, Surface Detail, and take part in a question-and-answer session.

Inverclyde Council has spent £50,000 improving facilities at the library.

Mr Banks originally opened the facility in 1988, four years after he found fame with his first novel, The Wasp Factory.

Born in Dunfermline, he lived in Nelson Road, Gourock, for nine years and said borrowing science fiction and other books from the town’s old King Street library had been a ‘huge influence’ on his career.

Mr Banks now lives in Fife again, but said: “Gourock and Greenock are my second homes, and I’m still a Morton supporter.” Answering questions from the audience, Mr Banks said his favourite authors included Graham Greene and Saul Bellow. Asked if he found science fiction easy to write, he replied: “Yes, I just let my imagination rip.” He was welcomed by Gourock councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld, who said: “It’s great so many people are here to see Iain opening this major refurbishment.”