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Iain Banks “touched” by messages of support

Author Iain Banks . Picture: Ian Georgeson

Author Iain Banks . Picture: Ian Georgeson

  • by ANGUS HOWARTH
 

SCOTS author Iain Banks says he has been left touched by messages of support recieved since being diagnosed with terminal cancer in a blog post on fan site Banksophilia.

Banks, speaking for the first time after announcing his illness, also revealed that he honeymooned in Venice and Paris with his new wife Adele.

Banks asked her to become his “widow” after learning of the fatal illness.

In a new blog post he also praised the care he received at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after he developed a medical complication while travelling back from France.

The 59-year-old shocked fans around the world earlier this month by revealing he had a terminal cancer which was spreading from his gall bladder.

In a blog post on a fan website at the weekend, his first public statement since his initial revelation, he said he was astounded at the level of support he received.

The Wasp Factory author wrote: “Discovering the sheer extent and depth of the feelings people have expressed on the message board over the past two weeks has been truly astounding.

“I feel treasured, I feel loved, I feel I’ve done more than just pursue the craft I adore and make a living from it, and more than just fulfil the only real ambition I’ve ever had – of becoming a professional writer.

“I am deeply flattered and touched, and I can’t deny I’ve been made to feel very special indeed.”

He also said some messages had been “rationality challenged”: “And I am, of course, deeply happy that I have attracted the attentions of a few of our – how can I put this politely? – more rationality-challenged friends. To have stirred up none at all would have been almost suspicious.

“Mostly, though – good grief! – what an outpouring of love, affection and respect. I honestly had no idea.”

Wedding

After he and long-term partner Adele Hartley married over the Easter weekend at Inverlochy Castle Hotel in the Highlands they travelled to Venice followed by Paris.

He said his statement was “cunningly timed to hit the outerweb just as we were heading away on honeymoon to mostly-sunny-with-a-touch-of-rain Venice and then mostly-rainy-with-a-touch-of-sun Paris.”

The blog post continued: “Even after we had, technically, arrived back home it was still a few more days before I could lay my tousled locks on our own pillows; I had to get off the train at Waverley station on Thursday and head straight to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after feeling distinctly dodgy in Paris that morning.

“I was kept in until Tuesday (though I did have a day pass that let me come home for a while over Sunday/early Monday… nothing about any of this is simple)

“The upshot is that a partial blockage of the stent that was emplaced earlier appears to have been dealt with in a procedure that took place on Monday afternoon and my bilirubin levels have started to come down again.

“Anyway, I’m back home now, after a basically brilliant honeymoon/holiday and a good-as-it-could-be stay at the very shiny and expertise-stuffed ERI.”

He added he had worked on his new novel The Quarry while on holiday, while Adele monitored posts on the Banksophilia fan website.

Fans’ suggestions of medical treatment and research would “be looked at seriously”, he said.

Fellow author Alasdair Gray would be recieving a letter of thanks from the sci-fi writer, he revealed: “I need to tell other writers how much their work has meant to me while they are (and I am) still alive. Means writing yet more letters, but I feel it’d be hypocritical of me not to, now.

“I think I’ll start with the amazing Mr Alasdair Gray.”

He also heaped praise on his fans: “Of course I’ve always known I have a fair few fans, and I’ve always been a fan of my fans – certainly of those who turned up at signing sessions, bookshop events, literary festivals, library gigs and so on.

SEE ALSO: Stuart Kelly on Iain Banks: ‘An imagination from small-town Scotland to outer space’

 

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