Kenan Malik in Pandaemonium:
We had been messaging each other on Boxing Day, trying to fix a date for a drink. Then all went silent. I assumed that Hanif Kureishi was too busy enjoying himself in Rome. Only later did I discover that he had had a fall that had left him almost paralysed and in hospital.
Kureishi’s hospital admission has made headlines around the world, not least because, incapacitated though he is, he has from his hospital bed produced a series of Twitter threads, collected on his Substack newsletter, a stream of consciousness about his condition at once poignant, profound, playful and laced with black humour. Unable to type, Kureishi FaceTimes his son Carlo, who writes out his thoughts before publishing them. Whatever his physical debilitation, Kureishi’s mind remains as sharp as ever.
For me, the shock of Kureishi’s incapacitation is not just that such a terrible misfortune should befall a friend. It is also that long before I knew him as a friend, I treasured Kureishi, like many of my generation of British Asians, as someone who helped us discover our voice and our place in an often hostile society.