Booker Prize-winning author, intellectual, political activist. Rushdie is considered a martyr for free speech and a purveyor of story as political statement. He is noted both for his literary achievements and for the controversy surrounding them. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), led orthodox Iranian leadership to issue a fatwa (death sentence) against him. His most recent non-fiction collection, Step Across This Line (2002), considers a range of topics, including film, music, sport, culture, and literature.
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Salman Rushdie, who was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, was schooled largely in England, including King’s College, Cambridge, where he read History. His first novel was published in 1975. His second novel, Midnight’s Children (1981), 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 in the award’s 25-year history.
Rushdie’s next novel, Shame (1983), won the Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Satanic Verses (1988), which followed, won the Whitbread Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, though it remains associated primarily with the fatwa that forced Rushdie into hiding under the protection of the British government. The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995) also captured the Whitbread Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novel, Shalimar the Clown (2005), was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award.
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie recently became Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University. In addition to recognitions for his individual works, he has received numerous awards, including the Prix Colette (Switzerland), Mantova Literary Prize (Italy), Budapest Grand Prize for Literature (Hungary), and Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France). He was elected to the board of American PEN in 2002.
Dr. Vidhu Aggarwal, Assistant Professor of English
Dr. Rachel Newcomb, Assistant Professor of Anthropology