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Salman Rushdie recalls gruesome stabbing in new memoir, ‘The last thing..’

ByNikhita Mehta
Apr 12, 2024 09:49 PM IST

The attack occurred 33 years after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death due to the publication of his book, The Satanic Verses

Salman Rushdie, the renowned Indian-born British-American author, has recounted the incident where he was stabbed on stage during a talk in August 2022. In his first interview since the encounter, Rushdie shed light on the incident in his forthcoming memoir, Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder. Rushdie was about to give a talk at the Chautauqua Institution in New York when a man rushed on stage and stabbed him about 10 times.

Salman Rushdie recalls his encounter with his attacker

British-US author Salman Rushdie(AFP)

“I was seated at stage right. Then, in the corner of my right eye – the last thing my right eye would ever see – I saw the man in black running toward me down the right-hand side of the seating area. Black clothes, black face mask. He was coming in hard and low. A squat missile,” Rushdie read from his forthcoming memoir.

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Following the attack, Rushdie spent six weeks in the hospital, losing vision in his right eye and a diminished sensation in his fingers.

In his first interview after the attack, Rushdie spoke to Anderson Cooper on CBS’s 60 Minutes, sharing, "One of the surgeons who had saved my life said to me, ‘First you were really unlucky, and then you were really lucky’. I said, ‘What’s the lucky part?’ and he said, ‘Well, the lucky part is that the man who attacked you had no idea how to kill a man with a knife’."

The attack occurred 33 years after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death due to the publication of his book, The Satanic Verses.

The alleged attacker, Hadi Matar, pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault and has been held without bail since his arrest. Matar's trial was delayed in January due to Rushdie's forthcoming memoir, titled "Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder," which is due to be published.

The Midnight's Children author announced the memoir in June of the previous year, saying, “This was a necessary book for me to write: a way to take charge of what happened and to answer violence with art.” Rushdie won the Booker Prize in 1981 for his book Midnight’s Children. With 15 novels under his name, he is well known in the literary world.

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