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Salman Rushdie Describes Knife Attacker as Coming at Him Like a ‘Missile’, Says Author | UK News

Author Sir Salman Rushdie has recounted the moment before he was attacked at a literary festival, describing seeing a “murderous shape rushing towards” him like a “squat missile”.

The acclaimed novelist was stabbed multiple times during the attack, which occurred just before he was scheduled to speak at the Chautauqua Institution in New York state in August 2022.

This tragic incident caused the 76-year-old author to sustain life-altering injuries, including blindness in one eye and limited sensation in his hand.

Sir Salman, who was born in India and is based in Britain, has documented the ordeal in his upcoming memoir titled Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder, set to be published later this month.

Prior to the book’s release, he shared an excerpt with American journalist Anderson Cooper for a segment on 60 Minutes airing this Sunday.

Recalling the harrowing event from his book, Sir Salman revealed: “In the corner of my right eye, the last thing my right eye would ever see.

“I saw the man in black running towards me, down the right-hand side of the seating area. Black clothes, black face mask.

“He was coming in hard and low, a squat missile.

“I confess I had sometimes imagined my assassin rising up in some public forum or other and coming for me in just this way.

“So my first thought when I saw this murderous shape rushing towards me was, ‘So it’s you. Here you are’.”

In 1989, Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Sir Salman’s death following the publication of his book The Satanic Verses, which sparked controversy among many Muslims.

Sir Salman Rushdie after being made a Companion of Honour by the Princess Royal, during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023.
Sir Salman Rushdie after being made a Companion of Honour by the Princess Royal in May 2023. Pic: PA

Following the fatwa, Sir Salman lived under strict police protection for years and faced numerous death threats, including a failed assassination attempt in London in 1989.

Recently, the author had expressed that his life had returned to a sense of normalcy after years of hiding.

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Then, on 12 August 2022, he was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, in New York state, when he was stabbed.

A man has been charged with attempted murder and assault – charges he has denied.

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In another teaser, uploaded to the 60 Minutes social media channel, Sir Salman talked about his survival of the attack.

“It feels like a miracle”, he said.

“And I certainly don’t feel that some hand reached down from the skies and guarded me. But I do think something happened which wasn’t supposed to happen.”

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The book, published by Penguin Random House, is set for release on 16 April.

On 21 April, Sir Salman will discuss his book and the attack as part of a series of events for the Southbank Centre’s Spring Literature and Spoken Word Season.

Sir Salman started his writing career in the early 1970s and achieved critical acclaim with his 1983 novel Midnight’s Children, which won the Booker Prize in 1981.

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