FORA Culture

Season 2008 Episode 0618

A Conversation with Salman Rushdie

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A Conversation with Salman Rushdie
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Born in Mumbai, India, Salman Rushdie is an outspoken novelist. After a decade working as an ad copywriter, Rushdie had a breakthrough with the publication of his second book, Midnight's Children. The book received critical acclaim and was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981.Rushdie continued to publish novels to a growing and enthusiastic readership and with 1988's The Satanic Verses, firmly established himself as a leading contemporary writer and member of the London intelligentsia.Shockingly, the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini reacted to the book by issuing a "fatwa," literally a death-sentence, not only against Rushdie, but all of the publishers and translators of The Satanic Verses.Rushdie immediately went into hiding and for nearly a decade lived like a prisoner, guarded around the clock by agents from the London police.His non-fiction book, Step Across This Line, recounts these "plague years" shedding light on the nine long years of bodyguards, secret residences, bulletproof mattresses propped against hotel windows, and the achingly slow international wrangling that finally set him free.During these years, Rushdie gained renown as a champion of free speech and a challenger of censorship and fundamentalist hegemony. "My experience just made me all the more determined to write the very best books I could find it in myself to write."In 2007 he was appointed for knighthood by Queen Elizabeth for "services to literature." He is currently a distinguished writer in residence at Emory University.His latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence, about a bewitching Moghul princess and her Florentine exploits with such historical characters as Machiavelli, is due out this June - City Arts & Lecturesmoreless
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