Sir Salman Rushdie says he had a dream about being attacked

‘I thought, ‘Don’t be silly. It’s a dream’
Salman Rushdie (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)Salman Rushdie (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)
Salman Rushdie (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

Sir Salman Rushdie has said he did not want to attend the talk where he was attacked in 2022 after having a premonition of the incident.

The author suffered life-changing injuries in the knife attack, including the loss of his right eye, while preparing to deliver a speech on free speech in upstate New York.

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In his first major television interview since the attack, Mr Rushdie, 76, told Anderson Cooper on CBS programme 60 minutes he had dreamed of a man bearing down on him with a spear in an “amphitheatre” in the days before the event.

“I woke up and I was quite shaken,” he said. “I said to my wife, Eliza, ‘You know I don’t want to go’. Because of the dream. And then I thought, ‘Don’t be silly. It’s a dream’.”

His 1988 book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since it was published as many Muslims view it as blasphemous and its publication prompted Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa calling for his death. The Iranian government withdrew support for the death sentence in 1998.

The Indian-born author, who said he had about “half a dozen serious assassination attempts” on his life, was due to speak about safe places for writers at the event in the small town of Chautauqua.

“It felt like something coming out of the distant past and trying to drag me back in time, if you like, back into that distant past, in order to kill me,” he said.

“I think he was just slashing. It was the half minute of intimacy between life and death. I was watching it (blood) spread and then thinking I was probably dying. It was quite matter of fact.

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“I’ve not had a revelation except there is no revelation to be had.”

He continued: “One of the surgeons who had saved my life said to me: ‘First you were really unlucky and then you were really lucky’.

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“I said, ‘what’s the lucky part?’ and he said ‘well, the lucky part is that the man who attacked you had no idea how to kill a man with a knife’.”

Mr Rushdie was speaking ahead of the publication of his book, Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder, which he admitted he was initially reluctant to write.

“It was the last thing I wanted to do,” he said. “The only thing anyone knew about me was this death threat, but I had to write this, to focus on the elephant in the room.

“It then became a book I really wanted to write.

“Language is a way of breaking open the world. I don’t have any other weapons.”

The author also said he will consider leaving the US and moving back to Britain if Donald Trump wins the presidential election in November.

Sir Salman has lived in New York for more than 20 years but said America will be “unlivable” if Mr Trump returns to the White House.



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