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Dying writer Iain Banks: I feel treasured and loved

SCOTTISH writer Iain Banks has sent his first message to fans since he announced he has cancer and only months to live.

IAIN BANKS: Said messages were witty, heartfelt and funny.
IAIN BANKS: Said messages were witty, heartfelt and funny.

On his new blog he wrote about marrying his partner Adele, his honeymoon in Venice and Paris, an emergency trip to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the "astounding" messages of support, love and encouragement from his many fans.

The writer of many acclaimed contemporary novels and science fiction books said he felt "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".

He said the messages left on his webpage are "witty, poignant, beautiful, heartfelt, insightful, touching and just funny".

Banks, 59, is suffering from cancer of the gall bladder, liver, pancreas and some lymph nodes.

He began: "Well, what an odd old time it's been."

He writes on the blog of returning home after a "basically brilliant honeymoon/holiday and a good-as-it-could-be stay at the very shiny and expertise-stuffed ERI".

His emergency trip to the hospital, after feeling "distinctly dodgy", was caused by a partial blockage of a stent [tube] he has had placed in his body.

Banks said he worked on what he believes will be his last novel, The Quarry, while he was on holiday.

He commented on the more than 150 pages of comments, tributes and best wishes on his webpage, and said he would follow up and investigate those offering medical advice.

Banks also noted: "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."

But he added: "Mostly, though – good grief – what an outpouring of love, affection and respect. I honestly had no idea.

"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.

"The people I spoke to on these occasions always seemed bright, clever, highly informed and sometimes worryingly more intelligent than me (see – somebody really intelligent would have written 'I' there).

"As well as displaying immense good taste in literature, obviously."

He said that discovering the "sheer extent and depth of the feelings people have expressed on the message board over the past two weeks have been truly astounding".

He added: "Which has got me thinking.

"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."

Banks concluded: "I'll continue to post the occasional update for as long as I'm able."

The Quarry will be published on June 20.

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