Salman Rushdie has spoken out for the first time since being stabbed multiple times during a literary event in New York last summer.
The 75-year-old author, who also announced the publication of a new novel “Victory City” says he feels “lucky” and “grateful” while he was physically recovering from the “colossal attack” relatively well, he had been left with mental scars, including difficulties writing.
Rushdie said he had been touched by people’s reaction to the attack: “It’s very nice that everybody was so moved by this, you know? I had never thought about how people would react if I was assassinated, or almost assassinated.
“I’m lucky. What I really want to say is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude.”
Rushdie’s upcoming 15th novel will be 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 the southern end of the Indian subcontinent in the 14th century.
In 1989, Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman’s death following the publication of his book The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.
The writer spent years in hiding under the protection of British police. But in recent years he lived more openly and was often seen in New York City where the attack took place.
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.”