Salman Rushdie, fully Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie

Rushdie, fully Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie

British-Indian Novelist and Essayist, Winner of Booker Prize, His book, "The Satanic Verses" generated controversy and death threats and a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Author Quotes

A sigh isn't just a sigh. We inhale the world and breathe out meaning. While we can. While we can.

Free societies ... are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom's existence.

I came as a writer to be very interested in the questions of the borderlines, of the boundaries, ... Great literature doesn't happen when there is no risk. It happens at the edges.

If I were asked for a one-sentence sound bite on religion, I would say I was against it.

It's fun to read things when you don't know all the words. Even children love it.

Memory has its own special kind. It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimizes, glorifies, and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events; and no sane human being ever trusts someone else's version more than his own.

Only under extreme pressure can we change into that which it is in our most profound nature to become.

Such is the miraculous nature of the future of exiles: what is first uttered in the impotence of an overheated apartment becomes the fate of nations.

The people in India do not think of the gods as abstractions. They think of them as real beings who move amongst them and work upon their lives every day. If you have something that you need, if somebody is sick, if a child needs to get into college or whatever it may be, you would go and find the relevant deity to make the offering to and you would believe that that would increase your chances of getting what you needed in life.

Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall.

When I was growing up, everyone around me was fond of fooling around with words. It was certainly common in my family, but I think it is typical of Bombay, and maybe of India, that there is a sense of play in the way people use language. Most people in India are multilingual, and if you listen to the urban speech patterns there you'll find it's quite characteristic that a sentence will begin in one language, go through a second language and end in a third. It's the very playful, very natural result of juggling languages. You are always reaching for the most appropriate phrase.

After a long, hopeless war, people will settle for peace, at almost any price.

Free speech is a non-starter, says one of my Islamic extremist opponents. No, sir, it is not. Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.

I determined to make my peace with Islam, even at the cost of my pride. Those who were surprised and displeased by what I did perhaps failed to see that… I wanted to make peace between the warring halves of the world, which were also the warring halves of my soul… .The really important conversations I had in this period were with myself. I said: Salman, you must send a message loud enough to… make ordinary Muslims see that you aren't their enemy, and you must make the West understand a little more of the complexity of Muslim culture … and start thinking a little less stereotypically… . And I said to myself: Admit it, Salman, the Story of Islam has a deeper meaning for you than any of the other grand narratives. Of course you're no mystic, mister… No supernaturalism, no literalist orthodoxies… for you. But Islam doesn't have to mean blind faith. It can mean what it always meant in your family, a culture, a civilization, as open-minded as your grandfather was, as delightedly disputatious as your father was. … Don't let the zealots make Muslim a terrifying word, I urged myself; remember when it meant family… reminded myself that I had always argued that it was necessary to develop the nascent concept of the secular Muslim, who, like the secular Jew, affirmed his membership of the culture while being separate from the theology… But, Salman, I told myself, you can't argue from outside the debating chamber. You've got to cross the threshold, go inside the room, and then fight for your humanized, historicized, secularized way of being a Muslim.

If Woody Allen were a Muslim, he'd be dead by now.

It's still open season on writers,

Most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence.

Our lives are not what we deserve; they are, let us agree, in many ways deficient.

Susan Sontag was a great literary artist, a fearless and original thinker, ever valiant for truth, and an indefatigable ally in many struggles.

The problem’s name is God.

We all owe death a life.

When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy.

After the eastern tsunami and the western hurricanes, this is not incomprehensible. But the people of Kashmir deserve better than they are getting.

Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.

I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong.

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Rushdie, fully Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie
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British-Indian Novelist and Essayist, Winner of Booker Prize, His book, "The Satanic Verses" generated controversy and death threats and a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini