After the knife attack last summer, Salman Rushdie, 75, struggled to write. This week his new book was released in Norwegian – at the same time he was made an honorary member of Norsk PEN.
– I am honored and happy to be an honorary member of the Norwegian PEN, says Salman Rushdie in a message transmitted by his literary agent at Wylie Agency.
Salman Rushdie’s appointment as an honorary member of Norwegian PEN will be announced on Wednesday evening in the margins of his new book, “The City of Victory” – which will be published in Norwegian this week.
– I have long and deep connections with literary Norway, and I see this award as an appreciation of this closeness.
– Thank you very much, Rushdie says in the letter.
Salman Rushdie refused all interviews related to the book’s release, except for Akbar’s photo The New Yorker — where he talks about his experience in the period following the knife attack in August.
– There is something called Post-traumatic stress disorderPost-traumatic stress disorderPost-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is characterized by reliving a traumatic event and having persistent nightmares about what happened.You know, Rushdie told The New Yorker.
Stabbed 18 times
The attack almost claimed the life of the writer, who has lived through death threats for decades.
Rushdie was stabbed three times in the neck and 15 times in the chest and torso – when a 24-year-old man stormed the stage during a show about artistic freedom in upstate New York.
Rushdie He lost sight in one eye He has problems using one hand as a result of nerve damage.
It wasn’t just the physical injuries that made it difficult for him to write after the attack, Rushdie told The New Yorker.
– I found it very difficult to write. I sit down to write and nothing happens, he says and continues:
– I write, but it’s a mixture of emptiness and rubbish, things that I write and delete the next day. I’m not out of the woods yet, really, Rushdie told The New Yorker.
He was hospitalized for the first six weeks after the attack – and still has to undergo regular check-ups. Today, many of the injuries have healed, and Rushdie says he is feeling better after all.
– Given what happened, I don’t feel bad, says Rushdi.
24-year-old Hadi Matar is imprisoned in Mayville – charged with attempted murder, which could result in a 25-year prison sentence. He is also accused of assaulting Henry Rees, the man who interviewed Rushdie on stage, which could give the man up to seven extra years.
The attack took place in front of several hundred witnesses in the hall on this August day.
The trial likely won’t happen until next year, according to The New Yorker.
Norsk Ben: It’s important that we talk about literature
Norsk PEN (the Norwegian branch of the world’s largest writer and freedom of expression organization) wrote in a press release that they also know of a strong association with Rushdie.
– We at Norsk PEN feel particularly connected to Rushdie and his writings after the assassination in 1993 of William Nygaard, Aschehoug’s former publishing director and later chairman, because Aschehoug published “Sataniske vers”, the press release says.
William Nygaard, Rushdie’s Norwegian publisher, was shot several times outside his Oslo home in 1993, but survived.
Nygaard’s son and current publisher and CEO of Aschehoug, Mads Nygaard, says it is an honor to manage Rushdie’s writing:
– This author and Aschehoug have a long history together, and parts of that history are painful. The core of our collaboration has always been, and always will be literature, Nygaard tells VG.
Salman Rushdie lived with death threats for more than 30 years, after Iran’s then spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, ordered in 1989 that Rushdie be killed as a result of “The Satanic Verses”.
The knife attack on August 12 last year made a deep impression on the entire international writers’ world, including Norsk PEN:
Today it seems more important than ever to ring the bell about literature and the right of Salman Rushdie and all authors to freedom of expression. We are therefore proud to appoint Rushdie as an honorary member of the Norwegian PEN, leader Kjersti Løken Stavrum says in the press release.
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