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Salman Rushdie, literary champion of free speech, recovering after attack

August 16, 2022


Three days after being repeatedly stabbed onstage as he was preparing to give a lecture, author Salman Rushdie is recovering while the man accused of attacking him has been charged with attempted murder. Learn about Rushdie’s life, work and the wider impact of the attack against him. For a transcript of the story, click here.

Five Facts

  • Who is Salman Rushdie, and what is his background?
  • Why was Rushdie threatened after the publication of “The Satanic Verses”?
  • When did he first start receiving threats, and how long has he been under threat?
  • How has Rushdie been a champion of free expression, according to this interview?
  • What is PEN America, and what is the purpose of the organization?

Focus Questions

Do you think there are ways state or federal governments could better support free expression in the U.S.? What are some things private citizens can do?

Media literacy: What do you think are some threats to free expression currently in the U.S.? If you don’t know, where could you go to research the issue?

For More

The writer Salman Rushdie interviewed during Heartland Festival in Kvaerndrup, Denmark June 2, 2018. Carsten Bundgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Read Salman Rushdie ‘on the road to recovery’ from stabbing, agent says to learn more about the attack and Rushdie’s recovery (as well as his history of supporting free expression).







What students can do:

You may want to check out Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” a 1990 children’s novel about 12-year-old Haroun who sets out on an adventure to restore his father’s gift of storytelling and an allegory for several problems existing in present day society and especially in the Indian subcontinent. Rushdie reads the audiobook himself.

If time is short, read this Economist article “The enduring wisdom of ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ Salman Rushdie’s children’s book about the power and politics of stories is still resonant 30 years after it was published.” to see what themes connect to your class.







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