Salman Rushdie: The Storyteller

Lo scrittore anglo-indiano pubblica un nuovo volume di memorie in cui esamina le conseguenze dell’attacco subito nel 2022. Parla anche del suo amore per la storia e la favola e si schiera a favore della libertà di espressione.

Bandera UK
Sarah Davison

Speaker (UK accent)

Aggiornato il giorno

469 Salman Rushdie Cordon b

Ascolta questo articolo

Stampare

The Indian-born British-American novelist Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 19 June 1947, just months before India became independent from Britain. Rushdie’s family, Kashmiri Muslims, moved to Pakistan when he was seventeen. By this time, Rushdie was living in England. He attended Cambridge University, where he studied history. 

Magical Histories

Rushdie became famous after his second novel Midnight’s Children was published. The novel is about magical children born at midnight on the night India became independent. The bestseller, which combined fantasy and reality, won the Booker Prize in 1981. Rushdie’s subsequent book Shame was another acclaimed attempt to make sense of recent Indian and Pakistani history.

Salman Rushdie

Deeply Offensive

A later novel, The Satanic Verses, published in 1988, also initially received praise, although prominent members of the Islamic community were already giving warning signs that its content would cause trouble. The novel contains a plot partly inspired by the life of Muhammad the founder of Islam, and while fictitious, it makes suggestions offensive to many Muslims. The situation escalated, and in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, issued a fatwa — a formal ruling under Islamic law — demanding that Rushdie and others connected with the book be killed. 

Extreme Violence 

Extremist bombings, riots and killings followed: a Lebanese man trying to plant a bomb in London was killed when it exploded, and the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses was stabbed to death at his office at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Rushdie went into hiding, but remained prolific as a writer, publishing dozens of novels for adults and children as well as essay collections. 

Who is Joseph Anton?

Rushdie was knighted in 2007 and in 2012 he wrote an autobiographical book about his experiences. Its title Joseph Anton: A Memoir refers to the name the author used to conceal his identity while in hiding; Joseph Anton is a composite of two famous authors’ names: Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov.

PEN America

In recent decades, things had appeared to have cooled off. In 1998, Iran said that it would no longer demand that the fatwa be carried out, although it did not revoke it, either. Rushdie moved to the US in 2000. He spent time as president of PEN America, a literary organisation dedicated to protecting free expression in the US and worldwide, and taught at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. 

A Vicious Attack

However, on 12 August 2022, as Rushdie was about to speak at the non-profit organisation Chautauqua Institution in New York, a twenty-four-year-old New Jersey man called Hadi Matar, the son of Lebanese immigrants, rushed on stage and stabbed the writer multiple times. The attack left Rushdie blind in one eye, affected the use of one of his hands and, according to the author, still gives him “frightening nightmares.”  

00 Portadas ITA 469

Questo articolo appartiene al numero april 2024 della rivista Speak Up.

Anglopolis: Who's Afraid of Phrasal Verbs?
iStock

Language

Anglopolis: Who's Afraid of Phrasal Verbs?

Sono il terrore della maggior parte degli studenti di inglese, strutture grammaticali apparentemente semplici che possono trasformarsi in un vero e proprio incubo. Per non aver paura di loro e poterle dominare basta conoscerle meglio. Te la senti di avvicinarti?

Sarah Presant Collins

The Killing of a US President
Cordon

Culture

The Killing of a US President

L'attentato a Donald Trump ha fatto rivivere i fantasmi dell'assassinio negli Stati Uniti. Diamo uno sguardo storico - e linguistico - a questo fenomeno dalla Guerra Civile in poi.

Alex Phillips

More in Explore

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

Australia: Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints
Istock2

Places

Australia: Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints

Il proverbio attribuito alle popolazioni indigene dell’Australia è un’ispirazione per i visitatori di questa affascinante nazione insulare, la cui ricchezza e diversità non hanno paragoni.

Alex Phillips