Twenty Years After -

Twenty Years After

Salman Rushdie plans to write about his time in hiding


Two decades after Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his death, British author Salman Rushdie is planning a book about the 10 years spent hiding under guard. “It’s my story, and at some point, it does need to be told. That point is getting closer, I think,” he told reporters at Emory University in Atlanta, where an exhibition of his personal correspondence, notebooks, photographs, drawings and manuscripts is set to open on Friday. “When [the archive material] was in cardboard boxes and dead computers, it would have been very, very difficult, but now it’s all organized,” he said. Last year marked 20 years since the Iranian leader called for Rushdie’s execution, saying that his novel The Satanic Verses insulted Islam, Mohammed and the Quran. The edict, which followed street protests and book burnings across the Muslim world, forced Rushdie under police protection for almost a decade. British booksellers said that if the Booker prize-winning author, who was knighted for his services to literature in 2007, went ahead with his plans, the work was likely to prove very successful. “This is one of the most fascinating chapters in recent literary history, and cannot but have affected Rushdie as a writer and as a man. The ironic thing is that this may be his most commercial book in years,” said Jon Howells at Waterstone’s. “The fatwa against Rushdie really was the first defining episode in the modern clash between fundamentalist religion and Enlightenment values which is now such a major issue for all of us. Rushdie’s profile is clearly massive, he still sells strongly, and he’ll get a lot of publicity for this book if he decides to write it,” agreed Benedicte Page, associate editor at the Bookseller. Rushdie’s next novel, Luka and the Fire of Life, a sequel to his children’s story Haroun and the Sea of Stories, is due out this autumn.

The Guardian

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