Salman Rushdie


1947

19 June: Born in Bombay, India. The Rushdies were wealthy, and Salman and his three sisters had a sheltered and privileged childhood; he never saw the misery or the thousands of homeless people who slept in the streets of Bombay every night. Instead, most of his time as a child was spent in the world of Aladdin, Sinbad the Sailor, and the flying carpets of his favorite book, Arabian Nights.

1961

Sent to England, to school at Rugby. It is a shock for him to find that he is considered an outsider at school, a "wog," an inferior. He is treated with hostility by both students and teachers and is often excluded from social activities.

1965

Returns to Pakistan, where his parents had moved while he was in school.

Decides to return to England to school at Cambridge, where he'd won a scholarship.

1968

Receives an MA in history with honors. Returns to his family's home in Karachi.

Begins working at a television station, whose constant censorship frustrates him.

1970

Returns to London. Begins work as a free-lance advertising copywriter.

Meets and marries Clarissa Luard, which makes him a British subject.

1975

Grimus, his first novel, receives very bad reviews.

1980

Quits work as a copywriter after finishing Midnight's Children, but before finding a publisher for it.

1981

Midnight's Children

1983

Shame

1987

Divorces from Clarissa.

1988

The Satanic Verses earns widespread critical praise, establishing Rushdie as a leading member of the London intelligentsia.

Marries Marianne Wiggins.

1989

Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issues a "fatwa," or religious teaching, sentencing not only Rushdie, but also all of the publishers and translators of The Satanic Verses, to death. He calls on "all zealous Muslims to execute them quickly, wherever they may find them, so that no one will dare to insult the Islamic sanctions. Whoever is killed on this path will be regarded as a martyr, God willing."

Rushdie immediately enters into hiding in London. Bounties, which quickly rise to number in millions, are placed on his head for this blasphemy against Islam. Rushdie lives under constant police protection, and all his public appearances take place only with the highest security.

1990

Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Rushdie still in hiding.

1993

Divorces Marianne.

1995

The Moor's Last Sigh. Rushdie still in hiding.

1997

Marries Elizabeth West.

1999

The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Rushdie still in hiding, but restrictions are beginning to be loosened.

2001

Fury

2004

Divorces Elizabeth.

Marries the Indian American actress and model Padma Lakshmi, the host of the American reality-television show Top Chef.

2005

Shalimar The Clown

2007

Padma divorces him.

Rushdie is knighted, which causes a furor in many Muslim countries.

2008

The Enchantress of Florence

2010

Luka and the Fire of Life

2015

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

2017

The Golden House



But love is what we want, not freedom. Who then is the unluckier man? The beloved, who is given his heart's desire and must for ever after fear its loss, or the free man, with his unlooked-for liberty, naked and alone between the captive armies of the earth?