Salman Rushdie



June 7, 1947 — Present

Birth Place:
Mumbai, India


Chief Accomplishment:
Wrote the Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children.

Other Notable Accomplishments:

Has written novels, collections of short stories, children's books, travel essays, an autobiography, and more. Subjects range from humanism to historical criticism with elements of fantasy.

Knighted by the Queen of England.

Has been elected to top literary academies and honored worldwide for his contributions to literature.

A fatwā (death sentence) for Rushdie was issued by Islamic governments. Rushdie went into hiding for a time, but overcame his fears to speak out for separation of church and state and free speech.

Is involved with a number of charities, from free speech and education to hunger and humanism.


Can't Stop Me! Despite that his books are banned in many parts of the world and that he's lived with a death sentence from Islamic nations since 1989, Rushdie fights for free speech. "A free society is one in which a thousand flowers bloom, in which a thousand and one voices speak."

Getting Involved. Rushdie is an advocate for separation of church and state and is involved with a number of humanist organizations. His death sentence comes from a religious government, making this topic personally important to him.

Letter to the Six Billionth Person. To celebrate the six billionth birth on Earth, Rushdie wrote the anonymous child a letter, "Imagine There Is No Heaven." It challenged this infant and their generation to look for solutions to the great questions, "How did we get here? And, now that we are here, how shall we live?" and everyday problems without religion. "Live in your own time, use what we know, and as you grow up, perhaps the human race will finally grow up with you, and put aside childish things."

Interesting Facts:

Muslim governments and many Muslim people opposed Rushdie's Knighting, calling it an insult to Islam. He did not appear at the ceremony until years after his knighthood was announced, and even then only as a surprise.

Rushdie likes the shows The Sopranos, Entourage, Breaking Bad, and Dexter, but he hated Game of Thrones calling it "trash" and the Wire since it was "just another police series."

Rushdie helped found a liberal arts college whose motto is "free speech is life itself."

Despite being anti-religion, Rushdie has said that the Islamic prophet Muhammad is "one of the great geniuses of world history."

Rushdie uses a company called Booktrack that synchronizes his books electronically with customized soundtracks.