Author and playwright Hanif Kureishi has said he is in a hospital in Rome after falling on Boxing Day and is unable to move his arms or legs.
The 68-year-old British playwright, novelist and filmmaker – best known for his works The Buddha of the Suburbs, Intimacy and Mother – shared a message on Twitter in which he said he was being treated at the Gemelli University Hospital in the Italian capital.
Kureishi said he was in the city on December 26 when he fell during a walk from Piazza del Popolo to Villa Borghese and then back to his apartment.
He said: “I had just seen Mo Salah score against Aston Villa, had half a beer down, when I started to feel dizzy.
“I leaned 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 next to me.”
Kureishi said he saw “a semicircular object picked up by claws scuttling towards me” before realizing it was his hand.
And he added: “Then it occurred to me that there was no coordination between what was left of my mind and what was left of my body. He had divorced me from myself. I thought I was dying. I thought I had three breaths left.”
Kureishi said his wife heard his “frantic screams,” adding, “She saved my life and kept me calm.
“For a few days I was deeply traumatized, altered and unrecognizable to myself. I’m in the hospital. I can’t move my arms and legs.”
He continued: “I can’t scratch my nose, make a phone call, or feed myself. As you can imagine, this is humiliating, demeaning, and a burden to others.
“I had an operation on my spine and have shown minor improvements in the last few days.”
Kureishi said he has “feeling and some movement” and will soon begin physical therapy and rehabilitation.
He added: “At the moment, it’s unclear if I’ll ever be able to walk again, or if I’ll ever be able to hold a pen, if there’s any help I’d be grateful for, it would be with regard to voice-assisted hardware and software, which they will allow me to watch, write and start working again, and continue with a kind of half-life.”
The author is known for tackling difficult topics, such as the complexity of relationships and the marginalization of minority groups.
In 1985 he was commissioned by Channel 4 to write a play, which resulted in My Beautiful Laundrette, a film about a young gay British Pakistani man in 1980s London.
The film, directed by Stephen Frears, won the New York City Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Kureishi’s other screenplays include Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, London Kills Me, The Mother, and Venus.
In 1990, Kureishi published one of his most famous works, The Buddha Of Suburbia, which won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel and was later adapted into a BBC television series with a score by David Bowie.
The novel follows a bisexual British South Asian character named Karim Amir as he explores class, ethnicity, sexuality and culture in late 20th century London.
The book is semi-autobiographical and is based on a number of Kureishi’s own experiences growing up in London.
Kureishi’s second novel, The Black Album, was published in 1995 and deals with Islamic fundamentalism and free speech, and was adapted for the stage in 2009.
His third novel, Intimacy, came in 1998 and follows the story of a man who contemplates leaving his wife and children after feeling rejected by his wife.
He obtained a CBE in 2008 and sold his archive to the British Library in 2014, which included personal diaries and notebooks, as well as working material from his major works.