Salman Rushdie releases memoir of fatwa years

Even as violent protests over a US-made, anti-Muslim film continue to spread across the Middle East, author Salman Rushdie has published his account of the decade he spent in hiding under a fatwa issued by Iran’s spiritual leader for his novel The Satanic Verses. The 1988 book, regarded by many Moslems as blasphemous, was accused of mocking Islam.

With a bounty on his head, Rushdie was forced underground for nearly a decade. He assumed an alias, Joseph Anton, which is also the title of his memoir of the long years spent moving from one safe house to another under police protection. (He apparently chose his pseudonym by combining the names of writers he admired — Conrad and Chekhov — hence, Joseph Anton.)

“A book which was critical of Islam would be difficult to be published now,” the famous, Indian-born novelist told BBC television.

The 633-page memoir is written in the third person, using a novelistic approach to tell the story of Rushdie/Anton. Watch as he discusses his new book in an interview:

Rushdie, who now lives mostly in New York, has penned 11 novels, including Midnight’s Children, for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker, as well as four books of non-fiction and one collection of short stories.

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Find out more about Joseph Anton: A Memoir or read an excerpt.

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