….his second effort – the magic realist novel Midnight’s Children – catapulted him to literary fame.
It won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was awarded the Booker of Bookers in 1993 after being judged the best novel to have won the prize during its 25-year history.
Sir Salman, who turns 60 on 19 June, is renowned as a purveyor of story as political statement.
He takes history and fictionalises it, with imaginative brilliance, and much of his work is set in his native India and Pakistan.
His fourth book – The Satanic Verses in 1988 – describes a cosmic battle between good and evil and combines fantasy, philosophy and farce.
It was immediately condemned by the Islamic world because of its perceived blasphemous depiction of the prophet Muhammad.
It was banned in many countries with large Muslim communities and in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s spiritual leader, issued a fatwa, ordering Sir Salman’s execution.
Despite living as a virtual prisoner, with full police protection, Sir Salman continued to write and produced several novels and essays during his confinement.
His re-emergence has not been without controversy.
In backing Jack Straw over his comments on Muslim women wearing veils, Sir Salman said veils “suck” as they were a symbol of the “limitation of women”.
Of his knighthood for services to literature, Rushdie said: “I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour, and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way.”
NY Times reports Iranian reaction:
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Rushdie, awarded the knighthood for services to literature in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honors list published on Saturday, was “one of the most hated figures” in the Islamic world.
Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini portrayed the decision as an act directed against Islam by Britain, which is among world powers involved in an escalating standoff with Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear ambitions.
“Honoring and commending an apostate and hated figure will definitely put the British officials (in a position) of confrontation with Islamic societies,” Hosseini said.
“This act shows that insulting Islamic sacred (values) is not accidental. It is planned, organized, guided and supported by some Western countries,” he told a regular briefing.