Rushdie discusses books, life under fatwa

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Salman Rushdie, British writer

Salman Rushdie at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, April 26, 2008.(AP Photo)

ATLANTA (AP) – Salman Rushdie says he’s pleased that readers of his novel, “The Satanic Verses,” are beginning to consider it “in the world of books” and not just “the world of scandal and politics.”

Rushdie spoke with the Atlanta Press Club on Monday about how young readers have the chance to consider it as a literary work. They weren’t around when the 1988 book was declared blasphemous by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini who called for Rushdie’s death.

His recent memoir, “Joseph Anton,” details the years after that he spent in hiding.

Rushdie also teaches at Emory University and talked about how he chose the pseudonym “Joseph Anton” during the fatwa.

He says it was a mash-up of authors Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov, who represented the underground world he was living in and the isolation.

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