John Haffenden talks to Salman Rushdie by John Haffenden

John Haffenden

John Haffenden talks to Salman Rushdie

 

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children won the Booker McConnell Prize for 1981, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the English Speaking Union Literary Award. A fecund, dynamic, baroque, transformative fable of memory and politics – ‘a commingling of the improbable and the mundane’ – the book has been equally acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the subcontinent. 250,000 words long, it has sold more than a quarter of a million copies in this country alone, and has been translated into twelve languages.

Born in Bombay into a Muslim family who emigrated to Pakistan in 1964, Rushdie was subsequently educated at Rugby and Cambridge. ‘I am an emigrant from one country (India) and a newcomer to two (England, where I live, and Pakistan, to which my family moved against my will),’ he writes. ‘And I have a theory that the resentments we mohajirs engender have something to do with our conquest of the force of gravity.’ After Cambridge he became a professional actor, and then supported his creative writing by working for some time in advertising. Now in his mid-thirties, he is married to an Englishwoman, Clarissa, and has a young son, Zafar.

Occasionally interrupted by telephone calls, builders calling

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