'I Sat Up Today': Novelist Hanif Kureishi, Days After Paralysing Fall in Rome

He is now undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation at Gemelli Hospital in Rome.

South Asians
2 min read
Hindi Female

Hanif Kureishi, a novelist and an Oscar-nominated screenwriter of British and South Asian descent, had a paralysing fall in Italy's Rome on 26 December 2022. Days after the accident, on 6 January 2023, the 68-year-old author took to Twitter to narrate his ordeal, saying:

"At the moment, it is unclear whether I will ever be able to walk again, or whether I'll ever be able to hold a pen..."

What happened? Kureishi, with the assistance of his son, tweeted that he "began to feel dizzy" after watching a game of football in his apartment. "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.

And then? Shortly after the fall, he felt as though there was "no coordination between what was left of my mind and what remained of my body. I had become divorced from myself. I believed I was dying." He is now undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation at Gemelli Hospital in Rome.

Kureishi is the author of Buddha of Suburbia, and the screenwriter of My Beautiful Laundrette, for which he was nominated by the Academy. He was born in South London to an English mother and a Pakistani father, whose family hailed from Madras and moved to Pakistan after the Partition.

Road to recovery: Over the last few days, the author, in a series of tweets, has been updating his followers about his condition. On 9 January, he tweeted: "I sat up today. I sat up today."

"Four physiotherapists came to my room. They started to move me with the determination of putting my feet flat on the floor. They turned me, and for a moment I sat on the bed staring ahead of me. I have to say, I felt proud and amazed and incredibly dizzy."

But... later, he tweeted that though he was able to hold up his right hand, he couldn't close or open his fingers. "My hands are inert, stiff and swollen, and they could just as well belong to someone else. These experiences are terrible, but I am beginning to see they are not so unusual," the author said.

Reactions from well-wishers: Kureishi said he had been receiving an outpouring of wishes from fans and the film and literary fraternity, adding that British-Indian author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed during a literary event a few months ago, wrote to him "every single day."

"My friend Salman Rushdie, one of the bravest men I know, a man who has stood up to the most evil form of Islamofascism, writes to me every single day, encouraging patience. He should know. He gives me courage."

British filmmaker Asif Kapadia and mediaperson Jasmine Dotiwala were among many who wished for his speedy recovery.

"Dear Hanif, I'm so sorry to hear your news. Sending you and your family love. Wishing you the best. Let me know if I can help in any way," Kapadia tweeted.

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Topics:  Rome   Accident   Salman Rushdie 

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