Author Salman Rushdie to Pen Memoir About Years in Hiding

By Michael Preston
|  Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010  |  Updated 4:06 AM PDT
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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Sir Salman Rushdie attends the launch of Salman Rushdie's new childrens book 'Luka and the Fire of Life' on October 11, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

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One of the literary world's most famous fugitives is set to pen a memoir about his time in hiding.

Salman Rushdie, the award-winning author of "Midnight's Children" and "Shalimar the Clown," is readying a book about his life during the years he was forced underground after releasing his controversial novel, "The Satanic Verses," reports the New York Times.

"I'm beginning to write this memoir," he said in an interview with Reuters. "So far I feel that I'm right: I'm not getting churned up and upset, I'm just writing it and I'm feeling quite pleased to be writing it."

He also said that he hopes writing this book will help to both correct the historical record and show the effects of those years in human terms.

"It's about what it was like, not just for me, but for my children, people who were close to me, my mother," he said.

"The Satanic Verses," which was published in 1988, took its title from a group of alleged Koranic verses that allow for intercessory prayers to be made to three pagan goddesses. While the book received positive press upon its release in the United Kingdom, it stirred passions in the Muslim world for what were considered to be blasphemous references. The book was banned in India and  several other countries with large Muslim populations and faced public protests in the U.K. and Pakistan. In February 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa, a religious opinion, that both Rushdie and his publishers should be killed and a bounty was put on the author's head.

Due to his being a subject of British rule, the U.K. put Rushdie under protective custody for nine years following the declaration and eventually broke diplomatic ties with Iran over the matter.

Certain parts of the Iranian government continue to call for Rushdie's demise. The fatwa was reaffirmed by Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 2005 and the Revolutionary Guard have stated that the death sentence still stands. The author said he still receives a "sort of Valentine's card" from Iran every year on February 14 as a reminder of its promise to kill him.

Selected Reading: New York Times, New York, Reuters

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