#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 17°C Monday 14 June 2021

Author Iain Banks has late stage cancer, says he has less than a year to live

The Scottish novelist said that he did not expect to live beyond a year.

Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE SCOTTISH AUTHOR Iain Banks has said he has late stage cancer and has just months to live.

In a statement on his website, the 59-year-old said that the diagnosis came to light when he went to see his doctor about soreness in his back last January.

His novels include ‘The Wasp Factory’, ‘The Crow Road’, ‘Complicity’ and the ‘Culture’ series. His latest work, ‘The Quarry’, is due to be published later this year and Banks said it would probably be his last book.

“I have cancer,” he wrote in a personal statement on his website which appears to have crashed under heavy traffic.

“It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.

“The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.”

Frenetic writing pace

Banks said that he had withdrawn from all planned public engagements and joked: “I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we’ll be married and on a short honeymoon.”

Born in Fife in Scotland, Banks rose to prominence in 1984 with his first novel ‘The Wasp Factory’ which told the story of a Scottish teenager who murders three children in his family before he is ten.

The author publishes sci-fi novels, including his nine-volume ‘Culture’ series, under the name Iain M. Banks. He is known for his frenetic writing pace, often completing a novel in less than three months.

The author added in his statement that there is a possibility of him undergoing a course of chemotherapy to extend the amount of time he has to live but he said not yet sure whether he would pursue this course of treatment.

He also said that he was currently recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct.

“But that – it turns out – is the least of my problems,” he said adding that his care, under the NHS in Scotland, had been “exemplary”.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

Read next: