Rushdie to Give Distinguished Lecture

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Not many novelists are condemned to death for their writing. Fewer survive the experience. This alone makes Salman Rushdie unique, and uniquely famous among modern literary figures.

Salman Rushdie will discuss his experience and how it relates to “The Role of the Writer in the 21st Century” as part of the University of Arkansas Distinguished Lecture Series. Rushdie will speak at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Fayetteville Town Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Rushdie was condemned to death in 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued a “fatwa” — a religious decree — calling on Muslims to execute Rushdie for insulting Islam and the prophet Mohammed in his novel “The Satanic Verses.” Rushdie went into hiding in England for much of the next decade, only gradually re-emerging into public life during the last seven years, after the fatwa was lifted in 1998.

Rushdie was born in India to a middle-class Muslim family. He was educated in England, graduated from Cambridge, lived in London and published his first novel in 1975.  His second novel, “Midnight’s Children,” won the Booker prize and was an international best seller. The death sentence that followed publication of “The Satanic Verses” made him an international celebrity at the same time that it forced him out of the public eye. He has published several novels, books of essays and nonfiction as well as a children’s book in the years since the fatwa was issued. He moved to the United States in 2000, and now lives in New York. His most recent novel is “Shalimar the Clown,” another international best-seller. 

During his visit to the University of Arkansas, Rushdie will hold a question and answer session with students at 3:30 p.m. in the School of Law courtroom. He will also hold a news conference at 5 p.m. in Room 342 of the School of Law.

The Distinguished Lecture Series is supported by student activity fees, the Associated Student Government and the University of Arkansas. Past lecturers have included Robert Redford, Benazir Bhutto, Ehud Barak, James Earl Jones, James Carville and Mary Matalin.

 
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