Sir Salman Rushdie
One of the Most Celebrated Writers of Our Time
Sir Salman Rushdie’s novels, greeted always with anticipation and acclaim, include The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and 2008’s The Enchantress of Florence. For his masterwork of magic realism, Midnight’s Children, he won the presitigious Booker Prize, and later, the Best of the Booker. The novel has since been adapted to film by the Academy Award-nominated director, Deepa Mehta, and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is also the author of bestselling memoir Joseph Anton. Sir Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life is a children’s novel and a companion to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. His new novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, will be published in September 2015 by Random House.
An eclectic writer and noted public intellectual, Rushdie has won many of the world’s top literary prizes, published a heralded collection of essays, Step Across the Line, written a book on The Wizard of Oz, and served for two years as president of The PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organization.
Public Events, Private Lives: Literature and Politics in the Modern World
In his spellbinding lectures, Sir Salman Rushdie braids together the worlds of literature, politics, and philosophy—a show of intellectual pyrotechnics and deadpan humor that conveys fully the texture of modern life. He speaks about the major themes coursing through his writing, his life and our world: freedom of expression, religion, pop culture, current events at home and abroad, East-West relations, and the role of the artist to shape our understanding of the world. For those more interested in his writing, he touches on storytelling, the magical realism he made famous, and the unique sensibility of his self-proclaimed “globe-swallowing, capricious books.” Few authors are as enrapturing in person as Rushdie, or as fully embracing of their well-earned place in the spotlight.
The Liberty Instinct
In this talk, Salman Rushdie discusses fundamental freedoms and the attack they face both from religious extremism and from political correctness.
Salman Rushdie examines the source of literature in the fabulist tales of the East, as well as Western folktale, and how that’s relevant to the modern world.
Hands down, from multiple sources: the best lecture we've had. We filled our hall to capacity (2,000). Mr. Rushdie was substantive, charming, funny, and fully human—nothing short of brilliant.
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.
In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.
Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, where beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.
Inspired by the traditional “wonder tales” of the East, Salman Rushdie’s novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
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. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was 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.
How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for more than nine years? How does he go on working? How does he fall in and out of love? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, how and why does he stumble, how does he learn to fight back? In this remarkable memoir Rushdie tells that story for the first time; the story of one of the crucial battles, in our time, for freedom of speech. He talks about 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.
It is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, provocative, moving, and of vital importance. Because what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding somewhere in the world every day.
Luka and the Fire of Life
With the same dazzling imagination and love of language that have made Salman Rushdie one of the great storytellers of our time, Luka and the Fire of Life revisits the magic-infused, intricate world he first brought to life in the modern classic Haroun and the Sea of Stories. This breathtaking new novel centers on Luka, Haroun's younger brother, who must save his father from certain doom.
For Rashid Khalifa, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, has fallen into deep sleep from which no one can wake him. To keep his father from slipping away entirely, Luka must travel to the Magic World and steal the ever-burning Fire of Life. Thus begins a quest replete with unlikely creatures, strange alliances, and seemingly insurmountable challenges as Luka and an assortment of enchanted companions race through peril after peril, pass through the land of the Badly Behaved Gods, and reach the Fire itself, where Luka's fate, and that of his father, will be decided.
Filled with mischievous wordplay and delving into themes as universal as the power of filial love and the meaning of mortality, Luka and the Fire of Life is a book of wonders for all ages.
Enchantress of Florence
A tall, yellow-haired, young European traveler calling himself "Mogor dell'Amore," the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the Emperor Akbar, lord of the great Mughal empire, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the imperial capital, a tale about a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, and her impossible journey to the far-off city of Florence.
The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It is the story of two cities, unknown to each other, at the height of their powers—the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during the High Renaissance, where Niccolò Machiavelli takes a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true brutality of power.
Vivid, gripping, irreverent, bawdy, profoundly moving, and completely absorbing, The Enchantress of Florence is a dazzling book full of wonders by one of the world's most important living writers.
The author of The Satanic Verses creates a fascinating family saga about the birth and maturity of a land and its people—a brilliant incarnation of the human comedy.
"Rushdie has achieved a magnificent and unique work of fiction."—The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Satanic Verses
Just before dawn one winter's morning, a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. Through the falling debris, two figures, Gibreel Farishta, the biggest star in India, and Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years, plummet from the sky, washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, and proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams, and revelations.