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Salman Rushdie

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie Nastaliq born 19 June 1947) is an Indian-British novelist and essayist. He first achieved fame with his second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), which won the Booker Prize. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the long, rich and often fraught story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the East and the West.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), provoked violent reactions from Muslims in several countries. Faced with death threats and a fatwa (religious edict) issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran, which called for him to be killed, he spent nearly a decade largely underground, appearing in public only sporadically. In June 2007, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for "services to literature", which "thrilled and humbled" him. The announcement met with disapproval from some Muslim nations and communities, with some claiming that it will be used as an excuse for terrorism. In 2007, he began a five-year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University.

Career

Major literary work
His first novel, Grimus (1975), a part-science fiction tale, was generally ignored by the book-buying public and literary critics. His next novel, Midnight's Children (1981), however, catapulted him to literary fame. It also significantly shaped the course that Indian writing in English would follow over the next decade. This work won the 1981 Booker Prize and, in 1993, was awarded the Booker of Bookers as the best novel to have received the prize during its first 25 years. It still receives accolades for being Rushdie's best, most flowing and inspiring work.

After the success of Midnight's Children, about the birth of the modern nation of India, Rushdie wrote Shame (1983), in which he depicts the political turmoil in Pakistan, basing his characters on Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Shame won France's Prix du Meilleur Livre …tranger (Best Foreign Book) and was a close runner-up for the Booker Prize. Both these works of postcolonial literature are characterised by a style of magic realism and the immigrant outlook of which Rushdie is very conscious, as a member of the Indian diaspora.

In his later works, Rushdie turned towards the Western world. In the 1980s, he visited Nicaragua, the scene of Sandinista political experiments, and this experience was the basis for his next book, The Jaguar Smile (1987). He followed this with The Moor's Last Sigh (1995), exploring commercial and cultural links between India and the Iberian peninsula. The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) presents an alternative history of modern rock music, and Rushdie co-wrote a song of the same name with Bono.

Many of Rushdie's post-1989 works have been critically acclaimed and commercially successful. His 2005 novel Shalimar the Clown received, in India, the prestigious Crossword Fiction Award, and was, in Britain, a finalist for the Whitbread Book Awards. It is shortlisted for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In his 2002 nonfiction collection Step Across This Line, he professes his admiration for the Italian writer Italo Calvino and the American writer Thomas Pynchon, amongst others. His early influences included James Joyce, GŁnter Grass, Jorge Luis Borges, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Lewis Carroll.
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