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Author Interview: Salman Rushdie

abstract:I almost bumped into author Salman Rushdie on the street one day in Greenwich Village, New York as we negotiated the slush and snow after a November storm. Since that time, I've been waiting for the book he would write telling of his nightmare's journey. After the release of his novel, Satanic Verses in September 1988 the Iranian religious leader, Ayotollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against him that forced him into hiding for more than a decade. Those events have had time to percolate in his memory, and at long last, his book has been released. Resembling more of a fictional international spy thriller than the true memoir of a world renowned literary figure, Joseph Anton (published by Random House) is both the name of the memoir and the pseudonym Rushdie chose for identification among his closest friends and his protectors, the secret police, etc., during those 11 years in hiding. The name, Rushdie explains, is a combination of Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov. Surrounded by "an iron ring of friends" who kept his secret hiding places, provided their own homes, and allowed him to live inside their protective cover. Rushdie explains what his life was like, as well as the political milieu at the time. An extraordinary story by one of this century's most talented writers. There's also an excellent video piece embedded at the bottom of this article worth watching. It's 90 minutes in length but gives the entire scope of the effect Salman Rushdie's book had on the Muslim world, from the first reviews of his manuscript to the India book ban that spread in countries around the world, to the northern London suburb where his book was publicly burned and the media and muslim community lit up. Interviews with journalists, publishers, his translator, his sister and people involved in the development of the story all culminate in the developing dramatic story.


December 03, 2012
— Of all the interviews abounding with the author, my favorite is with Charlie Rose. Take a look.

As well, here is the text of the commencement address Salman Rushdie gave to the graduating class at Columbia University in 1996



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