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The author Salman Rushdie

Updated on April 8, 2016

Salman Rushdie: Born June 19, 1947

Born on the nineteenth of June in the year nineteen forty-seven, Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is an essayist and novelist who is British Indian. Midnight’s Children is his 2nd novel, winning the nineteen eighty-one Booker Prize. Much of his work is set in the subcontinent of India. He is stated to combine historical fiction and magical realism. His work concerns the many migrations, disruptions and connections between the West and the East.

The Satanic Verses are his 4th novel, and was a center of controversy in a major way, having provoked protests in several Muslim countries. Threats of violent death were also made against him including one report that Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini issued a fatwa for him on Valentine’s Day nineteen eighty-nine.

Appointed by France to be the De L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Commandeur in June of nineteen ninety nine, he was also knitted by Queen Elizabeth II in June of two thousand seven for his literature services. The year after, the Times gave him the 13th rank on the list of 50 greatest writers in Britain since the year nineteen forty-five. Since the millennium year, Rushdie has resided in the USA where he was elected in the year two thousand twelve to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and worked at Emory University. He had published a memoir for Joseph Anton which accounted his life in the controversial wake of The Satanic Verses.

Family Background and Early Life

The only son of lawyer turned businessman and Cambridge-educated Anis Ahmed Rushdie and teacher Negin Bhatt, it was in the India location of Bombay that Rushdie was born into, in a Kashmiri descent Muslim family. He had written his two thousand twelve memoir and had mentioned that the name Rushdie was adopted by his father to honour Ibn Rushd or Averroes. His education consisted of schools that include John Connon and Cathedral in Mumbai, King’s College, Rugby School and he had held his history studies in the University of Cambridge.


He had first worked for Oglivy and Mather advertising agency as a copywriter where he came up with “Naughty but Nice” for cake creams and the Aero “irresistibubble” for the Ayer Barker agency for whom he had created the line that is memorable for American Express that states “That’ll do nicely.” While at Ogilvy, he wrote Midnight’s Children becoming a writer full time. Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s John Hegarty had criticized him for not having referred to his past copy write work often enough.

Major Career Events

Grimus was his first novel in the year nineteen seventy five, ignored generally by the public and which is partly a tale of science fiction. In the year nineteen eighty-one, his next novel was Midnight’s Children which gave him a literary notability catapult. This particular work won him the Booker Prize of nineteen eighty-one and some years later he got the award for best novel by the Best of the Bookers and he had gotten this prize in its first twenty-five to forty years is quite notable. The life of a child is followed by Midnight’s Children, born in India’s stroke of midnight and it follows that the children are endowed with extra powers and are connected to other dawn-born kids in a tumultuous and new age in the India sub-continent history, in connection to the birth of India as a modern nation.

Saleem Sinai

The character of Midnight’s Children named Saleem Sinai has been related the author. However, Rushdie went against the concept of having written any autobiographical character, claiming something to the effect of that he had never felt as if he had written a character that was autobiographical. Shame was a book he wrote after Midnight’s Children where he depicts Pakistan’s political turmoil, basing his characters on General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. This book won the Best Foreign Book in France and for the Booker Prize, was a close runner up. Both of the works are literature that is categorized as post colonial, characterized by a magic realism style and an outlook of an immigrant which Rushdie was quite aware of, being an Indian diaspora member.

The Jaguar Smile

One book that was non-fiction was called Jaguar Smile and this was about Nicaragua. This had a focus that was political and is based on his research and first hand experience at the Sandinista political experiment scene.

Short Stories

Short stories were also published by Rushdie, aside from books including those collected in The Moor’s Last Sigh, an epic family that ranges over a century of the history of India and was published in the year nineteen ninety-five. Other short story collections are also found in East,West. One alternative modern rock music history is presented in The Ground Beneath Her feet.


A string of critically acclaimed and successful novels have been written by Rushdie. This includes Shalimar the Clown which in India received the award for Hutch Crossword Book and was a Whitbread Book Awards finalist in Britain. For the Dublin Literary Award International IMPAC this was shortlisted in the year two thousand seven.


Step Across the Line, a non-fiction collection he had written in the year two thousand two was where he had professed how he admired Italo Calvino, a writer from Italy as well as Thomas Pynchon, writer from America, among other writers. Influences he had early include James Joyce, Gunter Grass, Lewis Carroll, Mikhail Bulgaov and Jorge Luis Borges.


In the year two thousand twelve, Rushdie was one of the 1st primary authors to adapt Booktrack, a firm that synchronized customized soundtrack with ebooks. On this platform, he had published In the South, a short story he had written.


Quietly, Rushdie had also been a mentor for ethnic-Indian and younger Indian writers and had influence over entire generations of writer who are Indo-Anglian. In general, he had gotten many writing plaudits including a literature Aristeion Prize from the European Union. He had also gotten many of the highest honors in literature including Germany’s Writer of the Year Award and the Premio Grinzane Cavour of Italy. He is the founder of the festival PEN World Voices and has been the president of the PEN American Centre from the year two thousand four to two thousand six.


Even if he always enjoyed writing, Rushdie had made claims that he would have loved acting had he not been successful as a writer. Even from childhood’s early years, he dreamed of making appearances in movies of Hollywood. In some of his writing, he had included movie characters and fictional TV characters. In the Bridget Jones Diary film, he made a cameo appearance. On The Charlie Rose Show, he was also a guest host and had interviewed Deepa Metha, an Indo-Canadian filmmaker whose film of two thousand five faced protests that were quite violent.

Controversy for Satanic Verses

In September of the year nineteen ninety-eight, The Satanic Verses publication had caused controversy immediately in the world of Islam due to what was thought of as a depiction of Muhammad, the prophet, in an irreverent manner. The book title makes a referral to a Muslim disputed tradition that is in relation to the book. Reportedly, there are verses added by Muhammad to the Qur’an when acceptance was made from 3 goddesses who had, as divine beings, worshipped in Mecca. Legend says that later, these verses were revoked by Muhammad saying the devil gave him a temptation to say the lines in order for the Meccans to be appeased, thus the title of the verses being “Satanic.” In large communities of Muslims, the book was banned including Pakistan, Venezuela, Singapore, Indonesia, Tanzania, Thailand, Kenya, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Bangladesh and India.


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