Salman Rushdie to discuss onstage attack at London literature event

Sir Salman Rushdie will discuss the attack that left him blind in his right eye and with a damaged left hand during an event in London.

The Satanic Verses author, 76, will be talking about his memoir Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder in April as part of a series of events for the Southbank Centre’s Spring Literature and Spoken Word Season.

The evening, in partnership with human rights organisation English Pen, will have “candid reflections” from Sir Salman speaking virtually and live readings from actors.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2023 – Arrivals – London
Kazuo Ishiguro, who wrote The Remains Of The Day (Ian West/PA)

Also announced for the series of Southbank Centre events is Nobel Literature laureate Sir Kazuo Ishiguro, who wrote The Remains Of The Day which was adapted into the Sir Anthony Hopkins-starring film of the same name, and drag queen and reality TV judge RuPaul.

Sir Salman was stabbed onstage at the Chautauqua Institution in the state of New York where the author was about to speak in August 2022.

A man has been charged with attempted murder and assault.

Sir Salman’s novel, The Satanic Verses – about the prophet Muhammad, is considered blasphemous by some Muslims and the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 edict, a fatwa, calling for his death.

The Booker Prize winner, who also wrote Midnight’s Children, spent years in hiding and has over the past two decades travelled freely.

British novelist and screenwriter Sir Kazuo will be part of an March event with his songwriting partner, the American jazz musician Stacey Kent.

Graham Norton Show – London
RuPaul will be releasing The House Of Hidden Meanings (Isabel Infantes/PA)

He will be interviewed about his book The Summer We Crossed Europe In The Rain: Lyrics For Stacey Kent, which is being published this year, and Kent will also perform along with Jim Tomlinson on woodwinds and Art Hirahara on piano.

RuPaul will speak about his new memoir The House Of Hidden Meanings, and in June twice Booker-shortlisted author Chigozie Obioma will also be talking about his latest work The Road To The Country.

Ted Hodgkinson, head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank Centre, said: “From Salman Rushdie to RuPaul, Kazuo Ishiguro to Maggie Nelson, this is a season brimming with must-see moments, shedding new light on iconic cultural figures and, in turn, the world around us.

“This programme offers unique events interweaving spoken word and music, alongside talks illuminating the historical underpinnings of the present and uplifting storytelling about experiences which are often underrepresented in literature.”

Southbank Centre’s events will also see author David Mitchell mark the 20th anniversary of science fiction novel Cloud Atlas, which was adapted into a film of the same name with Tom Hanks, Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant in various roles.

‘One Day’ Premiere – London
David Nicholls, who wrote One Day (Ian West/PA)

There will also be readings of the International Booker Prize-shortlisted books along with events involving comedian Sara Pascoe, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and the BBC’s disinformation and social media correspondent Marianna Spring.

David Nicholls, known for his film adapted works including One Day and Starter for Ten, will also be interviewed in April by Everything I Know About Love author Dolly Alderton about his latest novel, You Are Here.

Writer and filmmaker Miranda July, who directed Me and You and Everyone We Know, also speaks about her 2024 release All Fours with writer Eley Williams in June.

Salman Rushdie: Knife is on April 21 at 2.30pm at the Queen Elizabeth Hall – and will be live streamed for free around the world.

Tickets go on sale for the spring events to Southbank Centre’s members on Thursday at 10am and to the general public on Friday.