Alasdair Gray, best known for his novel Lanark, broke his back after tumbling into a basement at his property in the West End of Glasgow in June this year. The 80-year-old, who is still receiving treatment in hospital, had to undergo a tracheostomy, is currently unable to walk and still has a weak left arm and leg. But he has now spoken for the first time since the incident, and assures fans he is slowly but surely on the mend. Gray, also an acclaimed painter, said: “It may take a few months to recover my strength. “Otherwise not too bad.” Those close to the writer and artist believed in the aftermath of the incident that he would be “incapacitated for some time”. Gray was found by his neighbour, Marc de Ridder, in the early hours of the morning lying in his basement, eight feet down from the pavement. They were alerted by his moans and immediately called the emergency services. Paramedics and the fire brigade were involved in his rescue. Mr de Ridder’s partner at the time said he had been saved from “hypothermia and near worse”. The artist’s injuries prevented him from appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, where he was due to talk about Lanark, considered one of the finest and most influential books of the last century in Scotland.
However, within days of the accident friends suggested he was in remarkable condition considering the severity of the fall and his injuries.
Before his fall, the writer was having a busy year. There was a major retrospective of his art at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and he was working on a new large religious commission for Glasgow Museums.
In August this year Lanark, which he began writing in 1954 and completed in 1976, was adapted for the stage for the Citizen’s Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival.
He also had a show marking 60 years of his print-making at the Hidden Lane Gallery in Glasgow.