Over two decades after The Satanic Verses sparked a never-ending controversy and provoked a fatwa for his head, author Salman Rushdie has only one thing to say to his detractors: “I did not write it for the mullahs”.
The India-born controversial writer who has lived for years under the shadow of his 1988 book, now liberally jokes about the whole issue.
Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Art here, the 64-year-old author said books are intended for people who like them.
Joking about the fatwa issue during an interaction, he said he did not write it “for the mullahs. I didn’t think they were my target audience”.
“The only thing worse than a bad review from the Ayatollah Khomeini would be a good review from the Ayatollah Khomeini,” he remarked.
The author, who is best known for his memorable Booker-winning marvel Midnight’s Children, said the reason why books endure is not that people dislike them or that there is a controversy around them.
“The reason why books endure is because there are enough people who like them. It’s the only reason why books last. It’s the people who love books that make them last, not the people who attack them,” he said.