Rising star of literary world drops into Oban Library

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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.