Sir Michael Morpurgo has revealed he has undergone radiotherapy for an “unwelcome medical diagnosis”.
Writing in this week’s Spectator, the author, 74, speaks about being treated at The Royal Marsden – a hospital dedicated to cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Although he does not confirm the nature of his illness, Sir Michael refers to “being healed”.
In the diary entry he said: “By 74 it is easy to feel that you have seen it all, done it all, that nothing much surprises you any more.”
He added: “Even an unwelcome medical diagnosis does not surprise you. You cope because you have to. You know it’s what happens to us all.
“You’ve been lucky all these years. Now it’s your turn, stuff happens. That’s life, you tell yourself, or the other thing.
“Friends and family much younger have been ill, and suffered long; some have fallen off the perch younger than I am now. I’ve been a lucky old parrot.”
He reflected on distracting himself from the “whirring and clunking of the machine, those life-prolonging rays beaming into you”.
“Well, what and who, besides Marie Curie, did I think of during my beaming time, locked inside my plastic mask, down in the wonderful radiology department at the Marsden?” he said.
Sir Michael, who was a teacher for nearly 10 years, said he thought of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild, as well as the youngsters he had taught or had read his books over the years.
“They were all the hope I needed, lying there in that hospital being healed. It wasn’t only the radiotherapy doing the healing. It was the memories of those children too. They helped me through, helped me to keep hoping, keep believing. They still do, every day,” he added.
On Monday the War Horse writer was at the Hay Festival – which is where he said he wrote the article from.
His representative has been contacted for comment.