Michael Cox has been given an advance of £430,000 for his debut novel, The Meaning of Night, reports BBC News. It is believed to be the highest advance ever paid to a first-time novelist.
Mr Cox, 55, admitted: "The ironic thing is I probably wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been ill. I'd had the novel in my head for 30 years but never had the time to sit down and write it.
"Over the years I've drafted a few pages and then discarded them. It's been swirling around in potential form all these years.
"Then at the beginning of last year I had a tumour behind my left eye and I started to lose my sight. As part of the treatment I was put on a corticosteroid called Dexamethasone, which relieved the pressure on my optic nerve.
"The side effects of the medication left me fizzing with furious creative energy. I couldn't sleep and didn't know what to do with myself.
"I got a discarded first chapter out and started to work on it again. I couldn't stop - day after day, night after night."