February 25, 2010

Rushdie goes very public


In this report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Author Salman Rushdie said that he is planning on writing a book about his time in hiding. “It’s my story, and at some point, it does need to get told,” he said. “My instinct is that point is getting closer.  Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 when Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwah calling for the death of the author of “The Satanic Verses,” believing the fiction work was an insult to Islam.

Rushdie was in Atlanta on the occasion of the opening of his archive at Emory University. “Rushdie spent years in hiding after his book The Satanic Verses garnered him international attention and death threats from the Muslim world, but now the author is the subject of a very public and personal exhibit at Emory University. The Salman Rushdie Archive opens Friday at Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Library, and it gives the public an up-close view of his life and career,” according to the AJC.

The exhibit marking the opening of the archive is multi-platform and interactive. According to the AJC “On display are e-mails and written correspondence from the 1970s through 2006, and the exhibit includes letters between Rushdie and people such as U2’s Bono and then-Sen.Barack Obama. Viewers can emulate his writing process with computers designed to replicate his former machines. Journals and appointment books describe his creative process and how he developed his characters and nonfiction works. Personal papers include financial, legal and family records. Rushdie’s own “doodles” speak to his artistic nature, and viewers can also see photos of Rushdie from his childhood in India to his current hobnobbing with Hollywood.”

“From the moment I agreed to do this, I knew it was going to be sort of embarrassing,” Rushdie is quoted as saying in the AJC. “The biggest issue for me in the whole discussion with Emory had to do with privacy and the boundaries of privacy it’s not just my privacy at stake, but also other people.”

From the sound of it, he found his way around those problems….

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.