Salman Rushdie will not promote new novel Victory City after 2022 attack

Salman Rushdie will not make any public appearances to promote his new novel following the 2022 attack on a New York stage, his agent says.

Andrew Wylie said the 75-year-old author’s “recovery is progressing, but he will not be making any public appearances to promote his forthcoming novel”.

Victory City will be Rushdie’s first novel to be released since he was attacked while preparing to deliver a lecture in western New York state in August 2022.

The Indian-born British-American novelist lost his sight in one eye and the use of one of his hands after he was stabbed around 12 times at the Chautauqua Institution after a man rushed on to the stage.

A 24-year-old man, Hadi Matar, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault in relation to the attack. He pleaded not guilty.

Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses triggered a wave of controversy after its publication in 1988 for its depiction of the prophet Muhammad.

Iran’s former spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on the author one year after the book’s publication, prompting Rushdie to spend years in hiding.

Last year, the US government levied sanctions on the Iranian group that funded a bounty on the life of Rushdie and called the attack on him “an act of terrorism”.

The Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned the 15 Khordad Foundation for having raised money it said was payable to anyone who could murder the writer.

While he will not be promoting the book in public, he has been sharing updates on the work from his social media accounts, and recently posted images of the US and UK covers of Victory City.

He has also been writing to friend and fellow author Hanif Kureishi, who has been unable to move his arms or legs since suffering a catastropic fall in Rome on Boxing Day last year.

Hanif Kureishi, writer of ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’, pictured in Rome, Italy on 14 July 2017 (Mimmo Frassineti/Agf/Shutterstock)
Hanif Kureishi, writer of ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’, pictured in Rome, Italy on 14 July 2017 (Mimmo Frassineti/Agf/Shutterstock)

In January, Rushdie told The Independent that Kureishi is “like the younger brother I never had”.

“I’m here for him always, as he always has been there for me. Hopefully he will be his outrageous, mischievous self again soon,” he said.

In their exchanges, Rushdie has been “encouraging patience”. In his most recent update, Kureshi described reading Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children in 1981 as “like when Pete Townsend or Eric Clapton saw Jimi Hendrix play for the first time, or when The Beatles met Bob Dylan”.

Victory City’s publication on 9 February will be marked with a free online event with authors Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman, run in partnership with PEN America, PEN Canada and English PEN, The Guardian reports.

A second event will be held at the Bristol Festival of Ideas on 21 February, with a panel including Imaginary Cities author Darran Anderson, journalist Sian Norris, and human rights barrister Susie Alegre.

 (Rachel Eliza Griffiths)
(Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

Victory City purports to be the summary of a long-lost, 24,000-verse epic poem from 14th-century India.

The hero and author of the poem is Pampa Kampana, who as a girl becomes the conduit for a goddess, channeling her oracular pronouncements and wielding her magical powers.

Read The Independent’s review of the novel here.