Salman Rushdie has started writing the story about his decade in hiding from a fatwa.
“I am writing it now. I found it kind of annoying that other people kept offering versions of it that were all bulls***,” The Australian quoted Rushdie as saying.
It was on Valentine”s Day in 1989 that Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini called for the death of everyone involved in the publication of The Satanic Verses, Rushdie”s allegedly blasphemous fourth novel.
“I just thought it might be time to tell that story,” Rushdie said.
“I always for a long time didn”t want to tell it. First of all I was in it and that was not likeable. Then I got out of it and I thought the last thing I want to do is put myself back in it and think about it for the next few years. Of course there were people telling me I should write it but I just thought, ”Don”t want to. I want to get back the day job and write novels, stories etc”,” he added.
Rushdie wants to address the myths surrounding his captivity.
“There was a point at which I thought the only way to get rid of this bulls*** is to tell the story,” he said at the Granta event.
“I suddenly just literally woke up and thought maybe I”m ready. And I think I am. I have spent a lot of this year exhuming the material.
“I had journals of my own but as well as that there was obviously so much material written by other people at that time. I have been trying to get all that together and what is interesting is that it doesn”t upset me and I think if I had even looked at it a couple of years ago it would have,” he said.
One likely area of interest is the literary feuding over the fatwa between Rushdie and other writers, including Germaine Greer, John Le Carre and V.S. Naipaul, who publicly referred to the death threat as “an extreme form of literary criticism”.
Another is the story behind Rushdie”s announcement on Christmas Eve 1990 that he had rediscovered his Muslim faith. Years later Rushdie described that announcement as the biggest mistake of his life, a “deranged” moment that came at his lowest ebb.
It made no difference to the new Ayatollah in Tehran, who insisted that the fatwa would remain in place “even if he repents and becomes the most pious man of his time”.
Rushdie”s confinement ended in 1998 when the Iranian Government gave a public commitment that it would not carry out the death sentence.