Ris­ing star of lit­er­ary world drops into Oban Li­brary

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

New Scot­tish writer Kel­lan MacInnes vis­ited Oban Li­brary’s meet­ing of the Scot­tish Book Trust on Mon­day, tour­ing his novel The Mak­ing of Mickey Bell.

Kel­lan, a moun­taineer who has lived with HIV for 25 years, read ex­cerpts from his sec­ond book, which nar­rates ‘ two piv­otal weeks in the life of Mickey Bell: HIV, on the dole, liv­ing in the high flats in Drumkirk’.

The High­land pub­lisher Sand­stone Press con­tin­ues: ‘ Mickey’s got a se­cret – he’s been climb­ing Scot­land’s high­est moun­tains – the Mun­ros. When Mickey’s psy­chotic ex, Jon­nie, grasses him to the ben­e­fit fraud hot­line, Mickey runs away. Ac­com­pa­nied by Tyke, a wee col­lie dug, and pur­sued by an in­ves­ti­ga­tor from the De­part­ment for So­cial Se­cu­rity, Mickey sets out to climb his last Munro.

' With the back­ground a cel­e­bra­tion of the beauty of the Scot­tish High­lands, Mickey’s per­sonal jour­ney from a life on ben­e­fits to a brighter fu­ture mir­rors Scot­land’s jour­ney to­wards in­de­pen­dence.’

Kel­lan’s own web­site ex­plains: ‘ Di­ag­nosed with AIDS-re­lated can­cer in the late 1990s and given just six months to live, he did what HIV pos­i­tive peo­ple did back then – he packed in his job in so­cial work, cashed in his pen­sion, went home and waited to die. Only he didn’t …

‘As the years passed and treat­ments im­proved, Kel­lan was able to re­turn to work. In 2012, Kel­lan was awarded a grant by Cre­ative Scot­land to help re­search his next book and to ful­fil his am­bi­tion to be­come a writer.’

His first book Caleb’s List, short­listed for the 2013 Saltire So­ci­ety Scot­tish First Book Award, tells the story of the Vic­to­rian moun­taineer Caleb Ge­orge Cash who com­piled a list of the 20 Scot­tish moun­tains vis­i­ble from Arthur’s Seat in Ed­in­burgh, and Kel­lan’s chal­lenge to climb them.

Au­thor Kel­lan MacInnes, right, reads The Mak­ing of Mickey Bell to a meet­ing of the Scot­tish Book Trust in Oban Li­brary, hosted by John Keay. 16_T15_ Kel­lan MacInnes book_ 01

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