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Salman Rushdie to speak at Duke

Author Salman Rushdie, whose "Satanic Verses" book prompted death threats decades ago, will speak next month at Duke University.

Rushdie's public lecture will be Tuesday, April 12 at 6 p.m. in Duke University's Page Auditorium. A brief question-and-answer period will follow.

(Associated Press photo)

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets can be picked up on a first-come, first-served basis at the University Box Office in the Bryan Center starting March 15 for Duke students, faculty and staff, and March 16 for the general public. Tickets are limited to two per person.

Rushdie is the author of 10 novels, including “Midnight’s Children,” winner of the Booker Prize in 1981, “The Satanic Verses” and most recently “Luka and the Fire of Life.” A fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie has received, among other awards, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, and author of the year prizes in both Britain and Germany.

He is perhaps best known for the 1989 publication of "The Satanic Versus," which enraged Muslims who believed it mocked their faith and led Iran's Ayatollah Khomenei to issue a fatwa urging his assassination. 

He went into hiding for nine years and still receives the occasional death threat, he told a British newspaper last year.

These days, Rushdie holds the rank of commander in the Order of Arts and Letters -- France’s highest artistic honor. Between 2004 and 2006, he served as president of PEN American Center, and continues to work as president of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped to create.

“Salman Rushdie is without question one of the greatest writers of the 20th and 21st centuries,” said Ian Baucom, director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, an event co-sponsor. “I'm delighted we have the opportunity to host him and hear this lecture. It promises to be a remarkable event.”

Paid parking for the lecture will be available in the Bryan Center garage.

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