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Salman Rushdie

FRSL
Rushdie at the 2016 Hay Festival
Rushdie at the 2016 Hay Festival
Born Ahmed Salman Rushdie
19 June 1947 (1947-06-19) (age 73)
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Occupation Writer
Residence Union Square, Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Citizenship
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge
Genre
Subject
  • Historical criticism
  • travel writing
Spouse
  • Clarissa Luard
    (m. 1976; div. 1987)
  • Marianne Wiggins
    (m. 1988; div. 1993)
  • Elizabeth West
    (m. 1997; div. 2004)
  • Padma Lakshmi
    (m. 2004; div. 2007)
Children 2

Signature

Salman Rushdie, (born 19 June 1947) known as Mallun Rushdie in the Islamic world, is a novelist and essayist. He is the author of Midnight's Children (1981), which won the Booker Prize. It later won the "Booker of Bookers". Rushdie was born in India, but was sent to England to go to private school. He has lived in the United States since 2000.

Salman Rushdie is well-known for writing stories which use "magic realism", which is similar to surrealism. This means that things in his stories happen which may be magic or impossible, such as falling from an aeroplane and floating down as gently as paper. He often writes about India, and his stories often are set in different parts of the world.

Fiction

In 1988, Rushdie wrote a book called The Satanic Verses. The book included a fictional story about some characters with a made-up religion. Some people have said that it insults Muhammad, but others disagree. Rushdie said about the story: "his Prophet was not called Muhammad, lived in a city not called Mecca, and created a religion not (or not quite) called Islam. And he appeared only in the dream sequences of a man being driven insane by his loss of faith."

Controversy

Because of his book, a fatwa was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran. It called for Rushdie's execution. This is called a fatwa.

In the year 1989, the British government began protecting Rushdie.

Awards, honours, and recognition

Salman Rushdie has received many plaudits for his writings, including the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour (Italy), and the Writer of the Year Award in Germany, and many of literature's highest honours.

Awards and honours include:

  • Golden PEN Award
  • Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award (2014)
  • Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Cultural Humanism (Harvard University)
  • PEN Pinter Prize (UK)
  • St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates
  • State Prize for Literature (Austria)
  • Swiss Freethinkers Award 2019

Knighthood

Rushdie was knighted for services to literature in the Queen's Birthday Honours on 16 June 2007. He remarked: "I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour, and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way." In response to his knighthood, many nations with Muslim majorities protested. Parliamentarians of several of these countries condemned the action, and Iran and Pakistan called in their British envoys to protest formally. Controversial condemnation issued by Pakistan's Religious Affairs Minister Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq was in turn rebuffed by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Several called publicly for his death. Some non-Muslims expressed disappointment at Rushdie's knighthood, claiming that the writer did not merit such an honour and there were several other writers who deserved the knighthood more than Rushdie.

Al-Qaeda condemned the Rushdie honour. The Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is quoted as saying in an audio recording that UK's award for Kashmiri-born Rushdie was "an insult to Islam", and it was planning "a very precise response."

Personal life

He has been married four times. His last marriage was to actress and model Padma Lakshmi; they divorced in 2007.

Writing by Salman Rushdie

Fiction

  • Grimus
  • Midnight's Children
  • Shame
  • The Satanic Verses
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories
  • East, West
  • The Moor's Last Sigh
  • The Ground Beneath Her Feet
  • Fury
  • Shalimar the Clown
  • The Enchantress of Florence
  • Luka and the Fire of Life
  • Je Moeder

Nonfiction

  • The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey
  • Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991
  • Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002

Plays

  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories (with Tim Supple and David Tushingham)
  • Midnight's Children (with Tim Supple and Simon Reade)

Screenplay

  • Midnight's Children

Anthologies

  • Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing, 1947-1997 (coeditor)
  • Best American Short Stories 2008 (coeditor)

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