Salman Rushdie to talk about surviving murder bid at Edinburgh book festival

Sir Salman Rushdie will discuss surviving an attempt on his life when he appears at the Edinburgh International Book Festival later this year.

The Satanic Verses author, who was gravely injured when he was repeatedly stabbed on stage in New York state in 2022, will address the event remotely on August 17.

The 2024 Edinburgh International Book Festival, running from August 10 to 25, is being held for the first time at the new Edinburgh Futures Institute.

A brand-new series called The Front List will take place at the nearby McEwan Hall, with high-profile guests discussing current affairs, memoirs and also historical fiction.

The Front List programme which is hosted by Fringe producer Underbelly, will feature nine authors and will open on August 10 with actors Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson, talking about characters from Victor and Barry’s Kelvinside Compendium. The pair also wrote and starred in the 1990s BBC comedy The High Life.

On August 12, LBC host James O’Brien will discuss the current state of the UK and his book How They Broke Britain.

South Bank Sky Arts Awards
Sir Salman Rushdie will speak about an attempt on his life (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

Alice Oseman, author of Heartstopper – now a smash-hit Netflix series – will appear on August 13, followed by millennial guru Dolly Alderton on August 14.

Booker Prize-winning writer Sir Salman will appear live from his home in New York to talk to journalist Mishal Husain about his new memoir Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder, in which he discusses being attacked in August 2022.

Sir Salman was stabbed repeatedly as he gave a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, suffering wounds in the neck, eye, hand and abdomen.

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson will appear at the festival (Lucy North/PA)

Historical novelist Philippa Gregory will discuss her new non-fiction book, Normal Women, on August 22, with young adult author Sarah Crossan speaking at an event for secondary school pupils the previous day.

Richard Osman – whose Thursday Murder Club series repeatedly appeared on The Sunday Times’ top 10 bestselling books of 2023 – will talk about the first instalment of his new mystery series, We Solve Murders, on August 24.

Mental health activist Matt Haig, whose most recent book The Midnight Library has sold nine million copies, returns to the Festival to discuss his upcoming novel The Life Impossible on August 25.

New Makar
New Makar Jackie Kay will be an interviewer at the book festival (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Chairs for the events include crime authors Sir Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, as well as national poet Jackie Kay and BBC journalist Husain.

Most events will be streamed live, and all events will be BSL interpreted and captioned.

Edinburgh International Book Festival director Jenny Niven said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be presenting such a stellar line-up in a venue that will enable us to welcome more people than ever before.

“These are just the first of our 2024 events, with a further incredible 500-plus still to be announced.

Richard Osman
Richard Osman will speak about his new crime novel (Jonathan Hordle/PA)

“Our line-up gives a taste of what’s to come, ranging from history to mystery, hope to romance, politics to comedy – and featuring some of the best interviewers in the business, including Mishal Husain and our very own Jackie Kay.

“This marks the first release of events as we open an exciting new chapter for the Book Festival – we can’t wait to welcome audiences this August.”

Underbelly co-director Charlie Wood said: “This is such a great partnership to be part of, bringing together two of Edinburgh’s summer festivals in a crown jewel of the city, allowing a wider audience to see these amazing writers discuss their work in a venue with a fabulous and long history of speakers.

“We’re delighted that the Book Festival will be part of our wider and soon to be announced McEwan Hall programme.”

Tickets will go on sale to the public at 10am on April 25, with tickets available to book at and