• Wednesday, April 24, 2024


If I have an itch on my head, I have to ask someone to scratch me: Hanif Kureishi

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

British writer Hanif Kureishi, who has been unable to use his arms and legs since his devastating fall in Rome on Boxing Day, said he is determined to write again.

The author of the novel ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’, who collapsed after watching a Liverpool-Aston Villa match, described how he is dependent on others for everything – from eating to scratching his head. He also spoke gratefully of Isabella D’Amico, his partner for 12 years, and said he intended to marry her.

“If I have an itch on my head I have to ask someone to scratch me; if I want to go to the toilet I have to call someone to clean me; if I want to eat a cake I have to ask Isabella, to go and buy it at the pastry shop and then put it in my mouth,” Kureishi told La Repubblica from a clinic in Rome.

Being looked after by “brilliant” doctors and “very kind” nurses, the London-born writer said he would spend time listening to music on Spotify and enjoying an audiobook version of Bleak House.

“What interests me most is getting back to using my hands so that I can start using a computer again”, he said, adding that other patients told him it was possible.

Kureishi also said he wanted to apply for Italian citizenship as “a tribute of love to this beautiful country and her people”.

“Having dual citizenship will be an honour,” he said as he compared the bustle of London to the quieter Flaminio quarter of Rome where he felt “a sensation of silence.”

In a series of tweets earlier this month, he recalled his painful fall. “I had just seen Mo Salah score against Aston Villa, and sipped half a beer when I began to feel dizzy.”

“I leant forward and put my head between my legs; I woke up a few minutes later in a pool of blood, my neck in a grotesquely twisted position, my wife on her knees beside me,” he said.

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