Want to read more?
We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Oban Times – subscribe today for as little as 56 pence per week.
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.