Rushdie sells fatwa diaries to US varsity | india | Hindustan Times
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Rushdie sells fatwa diaries to US varsity

Author Salman Rushdie is selling his personal archive for an undisclosed sum to an American University, reports The Sunday Times, London. The archive, which reportedly includes two unpublished novels and personal diaries that were written during the decade he spent living in hiding from Islamist extremists, is being bought by Emory University in Atlanta.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 15:34 IST

Author Salman Rushdie is selling his personal archive for an undisclosed sum to an American University, reports The Sunday Times, London. The archive, which reportedly includes two unpublished novels and personal diaries that were written during the decade he spent living in hiding from Islamist extremists, is being bought by Emory University in Atlanta.

"There is worldwide interest in Rushdie. We are catering for the long-term care of the archive and will welcome scholars from all over the world," said Stephen Ennis of Emory University.

The sum involved is likely to match or exceed similar deals. In 2003, Emory bought the archive of poet Ted Hughes for a reported $600,000. Novelist Julian Barnes is said to have sold his papers to the University of Texas for $200,000.

The two unpublished novels — The Antagonist, influenced by American Thomas Pynchon, and The Book of Peer — were written by Rushdie in the 1970s. "The Antagonist was a contemporary London novel, set around Ladbroke Grove where I was living at the time. I think it was embarrassingly Pynchonesque," said Rushdie.

The 59-year-old writer said his priority had been to "find a good home" for his papers, but admitted that money had also been a factor. "I don't see why I should give them away," he said. "It seemed to me quite reasonable that one should be paid."

Rushdie said, “They asked if I’d ever thought about putting my archive anywhere and, to tell you the truth, until that moment I really hadn’t.

My archive is so voluminous that I don’t have room in my house for it and it’s in an outside storage facility. I was worried about that and wanted to feel it was in a safe place.”

Except for the “fatwa’ diaries, the papers will be open for scholars to study. Rushdie said he might use the diaries as the basis for a book.

“I wouldn’t want them out in the open. I want to be the first person to have a go at the material, whether as a serious autobiography or as a memoir.”