News

March 18, 2008

Award-Winning Novelist Salman Rushdie will Speak April 3

Part of Marquis de Lafayette’s 250th birthday celebration, event is free and open to the public, with no tickets required

Award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie will speak at 8 p.m. April 3, in Colton Chapel as part of the College’s yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de Lafayette.

The talk is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

The lecture, “Step Across This Line: An Evening with Salman Rushdie,” will look at how his life informed his work, the consequences of that work, and will focus on his two most popular books Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses.

Sir Salman Rushdie is an award-winning and controversial novelist and essayist. In June 2007, he was appointed Knight Bachelor for “services to literature” by Queen Elizabeth II.

Rushdie’s first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975, but he first achieved fame with his second novel, Midnight’s Children (1981). It won the Booker Prize for Fiction, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction), an Arts Council Writers’ Award, and the English-Speaking Union Award. In 1993, it was judged to have been the ‘Booker of Bookers,’ the best novel to have won the Booker Prize for Fiction in the award’s 25-year history.
It was Rushdie’s fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), which catapulted him into the international spotlight as the center of controversy. The book, winner of the Whitbread Novel Award in 1988, brought about accusations of blasphemy against Islam and demonstrations by Islamist groups in India and Pakistan.

The orthodox Iranian leadership issued a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 – effectively a sentence of death – and he was forced into hiding under the protection of the British government and police. The publication of the book and the fatwa sparked violence around the world, with bookstores being firebombed and public rallies in which copies of the book were burned. Also, several people associated with translating or publishing the book were attacked, seriously injured, and even killed. It is only within the last decade that Rushdie has been able to resume his normal literary life.

Rushdie has publish numerous other books including, Shame (1983), which won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger; The Jaguar Smile (1987); Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990), which won the Writers’ Guild Award (Best Children’s Book); Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 (1991); East, West (1994); The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995); The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999); Fury (2001); Step Across This Line: Collected Non-fiction 1992-2002 (2002); and Shalimar The Clown (2005). He is also co-author (with Tim Supple and Simon Reade) of the stage adaptation of Midnight’s Children, premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2002.

Rushdie received the British Book Awards Author of the Year honor in 1996. He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 1993 and the Aristeion Literary Prize in 1996, and has received eight honorary doctorates. He was elected to the Board of American PEN in 2002.

Born in Bombay, India, Rushdie received a history degree from King’s College, Cambridge. He currently serves as the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University and was previously the Honorary Professor in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Distinguished Fellow in Literature at the University of East Anglia.

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