Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday, Rushdie said the fatwa calling for his execution had inspired him to write six further works, while hiding from conservative Muslim groups who wanted him dead.
“It wasn’t so much therapeutic as more being bloody-minded,” he said. “My view is that if someone is trying to shut you up, you shout louder.”
Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1988, following the Iranian fatwa sparked by his book The Satanic Verses.
The fatwa, issued by Ayatollah Khomeini – the spiritual leader of Iran at the time – is still technically in force, although the Iranian government in 1998 said it would “neither support nor hinder assassination operations”.