Salman Rushdie received the German Book Industry Peace Prize in Frankfurt. This includes a prize money of €25,000. “Peace seems like a fantasy right now,” the 76-year-old writer said in his acceptance speech.
“We live in a time that I never thought I would experience again,” the Indian-born American-British author continued. “At a time when freedom – especially freedom of expression, without which the world of books would not exist – is being attacked everywhere by reactionary, authoritarian, populist, demagogic, narcissistic, and reckless voices.”
In a clear reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rushdie spoke of a war “taking place not far away, born of tyranny and thirst for power.” Rushdie described it as “a sad story that the German public will never know.”
Rushdie, 76, also referred to the war in Israel and the Gaza Strip. He said that art and artists are a way to protect civilization and “keep the barbarians outside the gates.”
In 1989, the leader of the Iranian revolution at the time, Ayatollah Khomeini, called for the assassination of Rushdie because of his novel. The Satanic VersesWhich he considered blasphemous and an insult to Islam.
Rushdie has been blinded in one eye since he was stabbed in the United States last year. Despite the attack and threats, Rushdie said that he continues to write books “without any hesitation.”
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”