Salman Rushdie Champions Freedom of Expression in the Face of Constant Danger

GERMANY: Renowned author Salman Rushdie was honoured on Sunday with the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in recognition of his unwavering dedication to literature and his resilience in the face of ongoing threats and violence.

The British-American writer, known for his influential works, emphasized the urgent need to defend freedom of expression in a world that faces threats from both authoritarian and populist quarters.

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During a solemn ceremony held at St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt, Rushdie spoke passionately about the current era, describing it as a time when the fundamental right to express oneself is besieged from all sides. He highlighted the critical importance of safeguarding this freedom for the betterment of society.

In a shocking incident in August 2022, Rushdie was viciously attacked while on stage at a literary festival in New York state. The brutal assault left him blind in one eye and with severe damage to his left hand. 

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In response, Rushdie has channelled his experience into a memoir titled “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder,” set to be released on April 16. He regards this work as a powerful response to violence, choosing to counter it with the beauty of art.

The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, endowed with 25,000 euros ($26,500), has been a symbol of literary recognition since 1950. The German jury, in its announcement earlier this year, commended Rushdie for his unwavering spirit, his optimistic outlook on life, and his profound contribution to the world of storytelling.

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Rushdie’s literary journey has been marked by adversity, stemming from the condemnation by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of passages in Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” as blasphemous.

This led to a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death, forcing the author into hiding. Despite this, Rushdie had managed to move freely for years before the shocking incident last summer, a testament to his unyielding spirit and commitment to his craft.

Also Read: Salman Rushdie’s ‘Road to Recovery Has Begun’, Process ‘Will Be Long’ Says Agent


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