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Salman Rushdie

Salman RushdieAKA Ahmed Salman Rushdie

Born: 19-Jun-1947
Birthplace: Bombay, India

Gender: Male
Religion: See Note [1]
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Novelist, Critic

Nationality: India
Executive summary: The Satanic Verses

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay, India, and educated in England. He worked in television and in advertising, before becoming an author. His second novel, Midnight's Children, is a comedic telling of Indian history through the eyes of a pickle-factory worker who knows people's souls through the extraordinary powers of his large nose. It won the prestigious Booker Prize, and made Rushdie famous in literary circles.

It was Rushdie's fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, that extended his fame world-wide. The book's two main characters are flying aboard a jetliner that's blown up by terrorists, and they have an amiable conversation while tumbling to earth, unharmed. After that the story gets weird -- and to some Muslims, downright offensive. For its freewheeling observations of Islam, The Satanic Verses was denounced as "exactly what it is called -- verses inspired by Satan himself". Of course, many more Muslims complained than ever read the book. Like most of Rushdie's work, it's bizarrely funny, but you have to have a sense of humor. Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini didn't, and in 1989 issued a fatwa condemning Rushdie and all who translate or publish his work to death for blasphemy. Rushdie has spent the rest of his life accompanied by bodyguards.

It's undoubtedly unpleasant to have a fatwa hanging over your head, but it's been terrific for Rushdie's career. Hundreds of millions of people who otherwise would have never heard of him -- probably including you -- now know Rushdie's name, face, or work. Wherever he travels on book tours, the talk shows want him, and his appearances are heavily promoted. He's routinely feted by parties with celebrities and literary figures, and though the location of these parties can never be publicly announced, it only adds to the Rushdie mystique.

Some suspect that Rushdie's 1995 novel, The Moor's Last Sigh, is a metaphor for his own life. Its protagonist suffers a strange condition that ages him twice as fast as anyone else. He has said that life under a fatwa is like being stuck in a bad Salman Rushdie novel.

[1] Rushdie was raised in a Muslim family, but he no longer considers himself to be Muslim.

Father: Anis Ahmed
Mother: Negin Butt Rushdie
Wife: Clarissa Luard (m. 1976, div. 1987, d. 1999, one son)
Son: Zafir Rushdie (b. 1979)
Wife: Marianne Wiggins (m. 28-Jan-1988, div. 2-Mar-1993, one stepdaughter)
Wife: Elizabeth West (m. 28-Aug-1997, div. 2004, one son)
Padma Lakshmi (actress, m. 17-Apr-2004, div. 2007)
Girlfriend: Pia Glenn (stage actress, ex-, together 2009)

    High School: Rugby School
    University: King's College, Cambridge University (honors)

    International Academy of Humanism Laureate
    Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board
    Man Booker Prize for Fiction 1981 for Midnight's Children
    Knight of the British Empire 2008
    Naturalized UK Citizen 1964
    Funeral: Christopher Hitchens (2012)
    Risk Factors: Fatwa

    Midnight's Children (31-Aug-2012) · Narrator [VOICE]
    Then She Found Me (7-Sep-2007) · Dr. Masani
    Dirty Pictures (27-May-2000) · Himself

Official Website:

Rotten Library Page:
Salman Rushdie

Author of books:
Grimus (1975, novel)
Midnight's Children (1981, novel)
Shame (1983, novel)
The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (1987, nonfiction)
The Satanic Verses (1988, novel)
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990, novel)
Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991 (1991, essays)
The Wizard of Oz (1992, nonfiction)
The Rushdie Letters: Freedom to Speak, Freedom to Write (1993, nonfiction)
The Moor's Last Sigh (1995, novel)
The Ground Beneath her Feet (1999, novel)
Conversations with Salman Rushdie (2000, nonfiction)
Fury (2001, novel)
Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 (2002, essays)
The Enchantress Of Florence (2004, novel)
Careless Masters (2005, novel)
Parallelville (2006, novel)

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