Daily Notes on Literature, Pop Culture & Media, and Academia

Rushdie: Dangerous Times for Writers

Posted by litdaily on October 1, 2010

Salman Rushdie says that the current historical moment is a dangerous time for artists, writers, and journalists, who are trying to challenge the entrenched hierarchies and power relations. In light of these dangers, the role of artists assumes even greater importance…more>>

The article elaborates Rushdie’s own close encounters with dangerous times, when the author spent many years in hiding after a fatwa issued over the publication of The Satanic Verses. This incident situated Rushdie at the center of the contentious relationship between arts and culture, and religious fundamentalism. And so he gained uncomfortable familiarity with a conflict that the rest of the West grappled with only on 9/11. In a 2006 interview with journalist Johann Hari, Rushdie connects the dangerous times writers face in the aftermath of 9/11 with the fatwa issued against him in 1989: “We’re all living under a fatwa now….You can see the fatwa as the overture to 9/11. It’s not a direct line. Maybe you could say it was not the same piece of music. But in some way, it was a harbinger – a small thing before a big thing. The first crow, you know, flying across the sky.”

You can find an excerpt of Rushdie’s forthcoming book for young readers Luka and the Fire of Life here.


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