Author Joan Brady, who won the Whitbread (now Costa) Prize in 1993 with her book The Theory of War, has just received an out-of-court settlement of more than £100,000 after she claimed to have become so intoxicated by fumes from a nearby shoe factory that she was unable to concentrate on writing her highbrow novel, Cool Wind from the Future, and instead wrote a brutal crime story, Bleedout, which she says she found easier.
Should we expect a glut of popular fiction, then, if the haze comes back?
Flippancy apart. Brady talks to Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian about the severe impact the poisoning had on her health:
I really would have been in a wheelchair if I hadn't done something ... I started to go numb in my legs. I could stick needles into my shins and feel nothing. I couldn't drive because my legs were so numb. I was terrified.She was diagnosed with toxic peripheral neuropathy. most probably from the fumes in the glue.
What surprises me most in this case is that it happened not in some big industrial city but in Totnes, an idyllic little town in South Devon where I've even dreamt of settling myself ...