The Richard B. Salomon Distinguished Lecture
On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. His crime? To have written The Satanic Verses, a novel accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran.”
So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov—Joseph Anton.
In conversation with Paul Holdengräber, Salman Rushdie will discuss the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and of how he regained his freedom.
SALMAN RUSHDIE is the author of eleven novels, including Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feat, and The Enchantress of Florence. He is also the author of a book of stories, East, West, and several works of non-fiction.
The Richard B. Salomon Distinguished Lecture is made possible by an endowment established by family and friends of the late Richard B. Salomon.