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“A Biographical Sketch and analysis of the literary works of one of our great modern novelists, Salman Rushdie”

“A Biographical Sketch and analysis of the literary works of one of our great modern novelists, Salman Rushdie”


My dear fellow lovers of literature and thinkers and readers, I bid and ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery. I welcome you all in this quest and task of coming to know intellectual honesty and honesty discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at what is valid and true and authentic in this present world of great confusion and do come with me in tearing apart the curtain of lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts. 

Today I propose to speak of and report on a great and enduring novelist, Salman Rushdie. For me to write and speak of this author is a great honor and privilege which I undertake with great humility and hesitation. I am, as some of you may know, a fan of English, American, French and Russian literature and have written of such great poets as Keats, Shelley, Byron, Tennyson and Browning, as well of such enduring novelists and prose writers as Conrad, Melville, Steinbeck, Jack London, Dickens, Thackeray and many, many others. I now speak of Mr. Rushdie in terms of these writers, all past greats. 

Salman Rushdie was born in 1947. He is a British-India born novelist and American novelist. His second novel, Midnight’s Children, won the Booker Prize in 1981 and his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, provoked death threats from some Muslims.

In 1983 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in the United Kingdom and Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 2008. The Times ranked him no. 13 on the list of the 50 greatest British novelists since 1945. He has lived in the United States since 2000 and has taught at New York University and Emory University and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

Rushdie was born in Bombay, India. He was educated at the Rugby School and Kings College, Cambridge. He was married four times and since 2000 has lived in New York City. He worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency. His novel, Midnight’s Children, published in 1981, brought him literary fame. After this he wrote Shame in 1983. His most controversial work, The Satanic Verses, was published in 1988, followed by many other novels and short stories. The year 2019 saw the publication of his fourteenth novel.

His novels were critically acclaimed and commercially successful. He received a number of honors, including the presidency of PEN American Center and other honorifics. He has done work in film and television. His novel, The Satanic Verses, caused great controversy in the Islamic world because of his irreverent depiction of Muhammad. 

The book was banned in many Muslim countries. A fatwā ordering his execution was proclaimed on Radio Tehran by Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, referring to the book as blasphemous. There was a failed assassination attempt on his life in 1989. A Pakistani film entitled International Guerillas depicted Rushdie as a villain plotting to cause the downfall of Pakistan (1990). He was placed on the Al-Qaeda hit list in 2010. He was scheduled to appear at the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2012 but later cancelled the appearance, citing the danger to his life. He received many awards, honors and recognition for his work. 

He came from a liberal Muslim family but is now an atheist. He is a critic of cultural relativism, an advocate of religious satire and is a self-professed humanist. He supported the US-led campaign to remove the Taliban in Afghanistan and was a critic of the war in Iraq. He supported the election of President Obama, was involved in the Occupy Movement and is a supporter of gun control. He became an American citizen in 2016 and voted for Hilary Clinton for president. Rushdie warned against the dangers of religious extremism. He opposed Amnesty International’s suspension of human-rights activist Sahgal and criticized the Janat Party and Prime Minister Modi. He opposed the division of Kashmir into zones of Pakistani and Indian administration. 

I am a great admirer of Salman Rushdie for his many courageous stands. I have not had the chance to read his work and look forward to having this wonderful chance and opportunity. I would love to know this man fully and completely as a figure and person of note who has courage in every way. 


I acknowledge here my debt to the article in Wikipedia on this writer for the content of this essay.