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Award-winning Author Salman Rushdie to Present Carleton College 2013 Lucas Lecture

October 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

As part an ongoing series of events and lectures on censorship, blasphemy and free speech, Carleton College is very pleased to announce the public appearance of award-winning author Salman Rushdie on Friday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Recreation Center. Rushdie will present the 2013 Lucas Lecture, entitled “Censorship and The Satanic Verses: 25 Years Later.” This event is free and open to the public but reservations are encouraged; please register online

Twenty-five years after the publication of his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, renowned author Salman Rushdie will speak of his experiences with censorship and the importance of free speech. First published in the United Kingdom in 1988, The Satanic Verses was immediately controversial on account of two sections of the book that present a fictionalized account of the early history of Islam. Banned first in India and protested by many Muslims worldwide, the book’s controversial status was sealed in early 1989 when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the execution of the author and anyone associated with the publication of the book. Rushdie and his family consequently went into hiding under the protection of the British government.

English writer Hanif Kureishi called the fatwa “one of the most significant events in postwar literary history” and the “Rushdie Affair,” as it came to be called, became a centerpiece in debates over the place of free speech and the representation of religion in contemporary societies, issues that continue to have great resonance in the present day. The Iranian government backed the fatwa against Rushdie until 1998 at which point the writer resumed a normal life. Rushdie’s account of his life in the decade he spent in hiding can be found in his recent memoir, Joseph Anton (2012).

In addition to The Satanic Verses (1988), Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of several other novels including Grimus (1975), Midnight’s Children (1981, which was awarded the Booker Prize the same year and, in 1993, was judged to be the “Booker of Bookers,” the best novel to have won that prize in its first twenty-five years; subsequently in 2008 it was judged to be the “Best of the Booker” on the occasion of the prize’s 40th anniversary) and Shame (1983). Other titles include The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995), The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999), Fury (2001), Shalimar the Clown (2005) and The Enchantress of Florence (2008). He is also the author of two children’s books, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990) and Luka and the Fire of Life (2010). Rushdie has also published a book of stories, East, West (1994), and three works of non-fiction: Imaginary Homelands (1992), The Jaguar Smile (1987), and Step Across This Line (2002). He is the co-editor of Mirrorwork (1997), an anthology of contemporary Indian writing, and of the 2008 Best American Short Stories anthology. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

In 2004, an opera based upon Haroun and the Sea of Stories premiered at the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. Rushdie’s stage adaptation of Midnight’s Children was performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company; a film version of the book, adapted by Academy Award-nominated director Deepa Mehta, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Salman Rushdie has received, among other honors, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, the Crossword Book Award in India, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the London International Writers’ Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the St Louis Literary Prize, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award. He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities, is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T, and University Distinguished Professor at Emory University.

An eclectic writer and noted public intellectual, Rushdie has received the Freedom of the City in Mexico City, Strasbourg and El Paso, and the Edgerton Prize of the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettre, France’s highest artistic honor. Between 2004 and 2006 he served as President of The PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organization, and continues to work as Chairman of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped to create. In June 2007 he received a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2008 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a Library Lion of the New York Public Library.

The author’s official website can be found at

This event is sponsored by the Lucas Lecture Fund, in collaboration with the Carleton College Humanities Center and the Department of English. For more information, including disability accommodations, please contact the Office of College Relations at (507) 222-4308 or associate professor of English Arnab Chakladar at (507) 222-5547.

The Carleton College Recreation Center is located off of Highway 19 in Northfield.