Home / News / World /  Salman Rushdie launches new novel, gives first interview after knife attack

Author Salman Rushdie has launched his new novel called "Victory City" on Tuesday (7 February), nearly six months after a man repeatedly stabbed the writer onstage during a lecture in New York state. The 75-year-old author was blinded in his right eye and his left hand was badly injured by the stabbing.

In his first interview since the stabbing, the writer revealed that he finds it "very difficult" to write. "I've found it very, very difficult to write. I sit down to write, and nothing happens. I write, but it's a combination of blankness and junk, stuff that I write and that I delete the next day. I'm not out of that forest yet, really," Rushdie said.

The award-winning novelist was attacked as he was about to speak at a conference in Chautauqua in upstate New York on 12 August 2022. Rushdie was on stage when approached by a young man dressed in black and carrying a knife. The alleged assailant, Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and attempted murder.

The attack happened more than three decades after Iran instructed Muslims to kill Rushdie because of what religious leaders said was blasphemy in his 1988 novel, "The Satanic Verses."

Since then Rushdie has been hiding under the protection of British police as Iran's first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered his killing. But in recent years he lived more openly and was often seen in NYC.

The Satanic Verses was published in 1988.

The Booker Prize-winning author said, "I've tried very hard over these years to avoid recrimination and bitterness. I just think it's not a good look. One of the ways I've dealt with this whole thing is to look forward and not backward. What happens tomorrow is more important than what happened yesterday".

Rushdie, an American citizen who has lived in New York for 20 years said he was not able to type very well because of a lack of feeling in some fingertips.

"As you can see, the big injuries are healed, essentially. I have feeling in my thumb and index finger and the bottom half of my palm. I'm doing a lot of hand therapy, and I'm told that I'm doing very well," Rushdie said.

"I have been better. But, considering what happened, I'm not so bad," he added.

Rushdie spent six weeks recuperating in hospital and still requires regular medical visits, he told the New Yorker. He said he hoped the attack would not overshadow the novel.

"I've always thought that my books are more interesting than my life," he told the magazine. "Unfortunately, the world appears to disagree."

Rushdie's 15th novel "Victory City" is published by Penguin Random House and takes the form of a translation of a mythical epic originally written in Sanskrit about the Vijayanagara Empire that ruled over much of southern India in the 14th century.

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