Born in Mumbai, India, Salman Rushdie is an outspoken novelist. After a decade working as an ad copywriter, Rushdie had a breakthrough with the publication of his second book, Midnight's Children. The book received critical acclaim and was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981.
Rushdie continued to publish novels to a growing and enthusiastic readership and with 1988's The Satanic Verses, firmly established himself as a leading contemporary writer and member of the London intelligentsia.
Shockingly, the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini reacted to the book by issuing a "fatwa," literally a death-sentence, not only against Rushdie, but all of the publishers and translators of The Satanic Verses.
Rushdie immediately went into hiding and for nearly a decade lived like a prisoner, guarded around the clock by agents from the London police.
His non-fiction book, Step Across This Line, recounts these "plague years" shedding light on the nine long years of bodyguards, secret residences, bulletproof mattresses propped against hotel windows, and the achingly slow international wrangling that finally set him free.
During these years, Rushdie gained renown as a champion of free speech and a challenger of censorship and fundamentalist hegemony. "My experience just made me all the more determined to write the very best books I could find it in myself to write."
In 2007 he was appointed for knighthood by Queen Elizabeth for "services to literature." He is currently a distinguished writer in residence at Emory University.
His latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence, about a bewitching Moghul princess and her Florentine exploits with such historical characters as Machiavelli, is due out this June- City Arts & Lectures
Michael Krasny, Ph.D., is host of KQED’s award-winning Forum, a news and public affairs program that concentrates on the arts, culture, health, business, and technology. Forum is one of KQED’s most-popular shows and the nation’s most-listened-to locally produced public radio talk show. Before coming to KQED Public Radio in 1993, Dr. Krasny hosted a night-time talk program for KGO Radio and co-anchored the weekly KGO television show Nightfocus. He hosted Bay TV’s Take Issue, a nightly news analysis show, programs for KQED Public Television, KRON television, and NPR, and did news commentary for KTVU television. He has also served as host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Since 1970, he has been a professor of English at San Francisco State University and has taught at Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest and Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life, coauthor of the textbook Sound Ideas, and creator of the DVD presentation “Masterpieces of Short Fiction.” He is a widely published scholar and literary critic, a fiction writer, and a guest and frequent interviewer on the City Arts & Lectures stage. He has worked widely as a facilitator and host in the corporate sector and as moderator for a host of major nonprofit events. Dr. Krasny has interviewed many of the leading newsmakers and cultural icons of our time, including former President Jimmy Carter, Cesar Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Francis Ford Coppola, Don DeLillo, Newt Gingrich, Vice President Al Gore, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, President Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Redford, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Updike, and countless others.
Salman Rushdie is the author of eleven novels, including "The Moor’s Last Sigh," "The Enchantress of Florence," and "Midnight’s Children," which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Best of the Booker Award and has just been adapted for film. "Joseph Anton," his memoir about his years of struggle against the Iranian fatwa on his novel "The Satanic Verses," comes out in September. He has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1987.
Controversial and renowned author Salman Rushdie discusses discovering the surprising hedonistic attitudes towards sex and drugs in the Renaissance Mughal Empire while doing research for his new novel, The Enchantress of Florence.
Salman Rushdie discusses the role of storytelling in Renaissance Europe and in the Mughal Empire, a major premise of his new novel, explaining that since "this wasn't a world of information media" and the storyteller had no way of proving his facts, the storytelling could be very risky.