Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie (born Ahmed Salman Rushdie, Urdu: أحمد سلمان رشدی, Hindi: अह्मद सलमान रश्डी on June 19, 1947) is an Indian-born British essayist and author of fiction, most of which is set on the Indian subcontinent.


  • It’s fun to read things when you don't know all the words. Even children love it. One of the things any great children’s writer will tell you is that children like it if in books designed for their age group there is a vocabulary just slightly bigger than theirs. So they come up against weird words, and the weird words excite them. If you describe a small girl in a story as “loquacious,” it works so much better than “talkative.” And then some little girl will read the book and her sister will be shooting her mouth off and she will say to her sister, “Don't be so loquacious.” It is a whole new weapon in her arsenal.
  • Those who oppose the novel most vociferously today are of the opinion that intermingling with a different culture will inevitably weaken and ruin their own. I am of the opposite opinion. The Satanic Verses celebrates hybridity, impurity, intermingling, the transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas, politics, movies, songs. It rejoices in mongrelization and fears the absolutism of the Pure. Melange, hotchpotch, a bit of this and a bit of that is how newness enters the world. It is the great possibility that mass migration gives the world… The Satanic Verses is for change-by-fusion, change-by-conjoining. It is a love song to our mongrel selves.
    • Imaginary Homelands (1992)
  • Children are the vessels into which adults pour their poison.
    • Midnight's Children (1981)
  • Who what am I? My answer: I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have ever been, seen done, of everything done to me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I've gone which would not have happened if I had not come.
    • Midnight's Children (1981)
  • But names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit.
    • The Satanic Verses (1988)
  • The world, somebody wrote, is the place we prove real by dying in it.
    • "The Satanic Verses" (1988)
  • The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas -- uncertainty, progress, change -- into crimes.
    • Herbert Reade Memorial Lecture (February 6, 1990)
  • Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination of the heart.
    • The Hindu (26 February 1995)
  • The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step outside the frame.
    • The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999)
  • I've been worrying about God a little bit lately. It seems as if he's been lashing out, you know, destroying cities, annihilating places. It seems like he's been in a bad mood. And I think it has to do with the quality of lovers he's been getting. If you look at the people who love God now, you know, if I was God, I'd need to destroy something.
    • Real Time with Bill Maher TV show (October 7, 2005)
  • it may be argued that the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, that its loss is part of our common humanity. Which seems to be self-evidently true; but I suggest that the writer who is out-of-country and even out-of-language may experience this loss in an intensified form. It is made more concrete for him by the physical fact of discontinuity, of his present being in a different place from his past, of his being 'elsewhere'... human beings do not perceive things whole; we are not gods but wounded creatures, cracked lenses, capably only of fractured perceptions. Partial beings, in all the senses of that phrase. Meaning is a shaky edifice we build out of scraps, dogmas, childhood injuries, newspaper articles, chance remarks, old films, small victories, people hated, people loved; perhaps it is because of our sense of what is the case is constructed from such inadequate materials that we defend it so fiercely, even to the death.*
    • "Imaginary Homelands" 1981-1991


  • Orgasmically joyful.
    • When asked how he felt about his upcoming knighthood, from a speech given at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, November, 2007
  • If we allow ourselves to be terrorized by fear of the terrorists, then they have won.
    • In an interview explaining how he managed to maintain a near normal life despite having a fatwa placed upon him.
  • What is my single life worth?
    • From a speech celebrating the 200th anniversary of the First Amendment, New York, December, 1991
  • In regards to that unpleasantness between me and the Ayatollah some years ago... one of us is dead.
    • From an address at the University of Iowa, 2004
    • Ayatollah Khomeini issued a decree ordering the execution of Rushdie after Rushdie wrote a novel which the Ayatollah viewed as blasphemous. See the Wikipedia article on Rushdie for more details.
  • What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
    • From The Swedish "Censorship" Homepage
  • I don't think there is a need for an entity like God in my life.
    • From an interview with David Frost.
  • I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong.
    • From an interview with David Frost (PBS)
  • A writer's home address has little or nothing to do with his ability to write.
  • The ability to be frivolous in a serious time is not to be underestimated.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Salman Rushdie

Video clips

Last modified on 17 November 2008, at 22:58