- The real risks for any artist are taken in pushing the work to the limits of what is possible, in the attempt to increase the sum of what it is possible to think. Books become good when they go to this edge and risk falling over it --when they endanger the artist by reason of what he has, or has not, artistically dared.
- Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings.
- A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.
- If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you've got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you're dumb and blind.
- 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.
- Where there is no belief, there is no blasphemy.
- Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.
- 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 and of the heart.
- The acceptance that all that is solid has melted into the air, that reality and morality are not givens but imperfect human constructs, is the point from which fiction begins.
- One of the extraordinary things about human events is that the unthinkable becomes thinkable.
- We must conclude that it is not only a particular political ideology that has failed, but the idea that men and women could ever define themselves in terms that exclude their spiritual needs.
- Whores and writers, Mahound. We are the people you can't forgive.
- I used to say: there is a God-shaped hole in me. For a long time I stressed the absence, the hole. Now I find it is the shape which has become more important.
- Sometimes legends make reality, and become more useful than the facts.
- The only privilege literature deserves -- and this privilege it requires in order to exist -- is the privilege of being in the arena of discourse, the place where the struggle of our languages can be acted out.
- Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems --but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems incredible.
- Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.
- Your blasphemy, Salman, can't be forgiven. To set your words against the Words of God.
- 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.
- In this world without quiet corners, there can be no easy escapes from history, from hullabaloo, from terrible, unquiet fuss.
- I make no complaint. I am a writer. I do not accept my condition; I will strive to change it; but I inhabit it, I am trying to learn from it.
- The liveliness of literature lies in its exceptionality, in being the individual, idiosyncratic vision of one human being, in which, to our delight and great surprise, we may find our own vision reflected.
- 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.
- If Woody Allen were a Muslim, he'd be dead by now.
- Not even the visionary or mystical experience ever lasts very long. It is for art to capture that experience, to offer it to, in the case of literature, its readers; to be, for a secular, materialist culture, some sort of replacement for what the love of god offers in the world of faith.
- When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy.
- Writers and politicians are natural rivals. Both groups try to make the world in their own images; they fight for the same territory.
- Our lives teach us who we are.
- The novel does not seek to establish a privileged language but it insists upon the freedom to portray and analyze the struggle between the different contestants for such privileges.
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is an Indian British novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children, won the Booker Prize in 1981. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He is said to combine magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions and migrations between East and West.
His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, was the centre of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989.
Rushdie was appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999. In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his services to literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him thirteenth on its list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945.
Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in the United States, where he has worked at Emory University and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2012, he published Joseph Anton: A Memoir, an account of his life in the wake of the controversy over The Satanic Verses.