Salman Rushdie says he is writing a book about the near-fatal knife attack
Salman Rushdie is working on a book about the attack that took his right eye, he said in one of his first public appearances since he was stabbed multiple times at a literary festival in upstate New York last year.
Speech a FT Weekend Festival The 75-year-old novelist said Saturday in Washington that he was still “a little beat up” but “basically fine” almost a year after the attempt on his life.
Rushdie appeared at the event via video link wearing glasses with a darkened right lens.
“I don’t read as fast as I used to, but . . . I think I’m going to write a fairly short book about what happened,” Rushdie said in a wide-ranging conversation that explored the author’s many novels. Midnight’s Children to Victory Cityhis most recent work, which was published earlier this year.
Rushdie has been persecuted for his work for decades and his life was in danger.
The Satanic VersesThe book, first published in 1988, sparked controversy regarding the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The book was banned in Iran, and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie.
Following the death threat, Rushdie went into hiding and lived under armed guard.
Following last year’s attack, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the Iranian government of inciting violence against Rushdie and blamed Tehran for a “fall”.[ing]” about the attempt on his life.
Rushdie addressed his critics on Saturday, saying: “If my work has enemies, they are probably the right enemies.”
When asked what advice he would give to aspiring young writers, Rushdie replied: “I would say do what you have to do and don’t be afraid.”
Rushdie has largely been out of the public eye for the past year as he recovers from the attack on his life. He made a rare personal appearance in New York last week to accept the Centennial Courage Award from PEN America, a non-profit organization that promotes freedom of expression.
“Currently, many people are trying to fence in different ways what is allowed and what is not. . . if something leads to the death of the novel, it will be,” Rushdie warned attendees of Saturday’s FT Festival.
“We must speak our truth in our own way and offer it to the world,” he added.