Salman Rushdie shares photo after revealing he feels 'lucky and grateful' in first interview since New York stabbing

6 February 2023, 17:49 | Updated: 7 February 2023, 01:21

Novelist Salman Rushdie has shared a photo of himself after revealing he feels "lucky and grateful" in his first interview since being stabbed at a literary event in New York last year.
Novelist Salman Rushdie has shared a photo of himself after revealing he feels "lucky and grateful" in his first interview since being stabbed at a literary event in New York last year. Picture: Twitter/@SalmanRushdie / Getty

By Chris Samuel

Novelist Salman Rushdie has shared a photo of himself after revealing he feels "lucky and grateful" in his first interview since being stabbed at a literary event in New York last year.

The British author sustained life-changing injuries including losing sight in one eye following the knife attack in August, in which he was repeatedly stabbed.

The attack occurred prior to him delivering a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution.

The shocking incident wasn't the first time the 75-year-old's life was in danger: in 1989 Iran’s former ruler Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Sir Salman's death after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider to be blasphemous.

Sir Salman posted a picture of himself on Twitter today after an interview with the New Yorker was published to today - his first interview since the August attack.

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He wrote: "The photo in NewYorker is dramatic and powerful but this, more prosaically, is what I actually look like."

In his first interview since the incident in August, Sir Salman reflected on the support he was given by first responders during the attack and afterward.

Speaking to the magazine he said: “It’s very nice that everybody was so moved by this, you know? I had never thought about how people would react if I was assassinated, or almost assassinated.”

Sir Salman shared a picture of himself on Twitter today.
Sir Salman shared a picture of himself on Twitter today. Picture: Twitter / @SalmanRushdie

He continued: “I’m lucky. What I really want to say is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude.”

Sir Salman voiced his gratitude to the medical professionals who treated him at the scene and in hospital in weeks that followed, adding: “At some point, I’d like to go back up there and say thank you.”

The Booker Prize-winning author also praised his two sons Zafar and Milan and his wife Rachel Eliza Griffiths, saying: “She just took over everything, as well as having the emotional burden of my almost being killed.”

Sir Salman sustained serious wounds to his neck, face, hand and abdomen during the attack, which left him without sight in one eye and one of his hands incapacitated at the time.

Sir Salman has spent months recovering and told the oulet he is “not so bad” considering the severity of the incident.

The author attending the premiere of 'Midnight's Children' during the 56th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon West End on October 14, 2012.
The author attending the premiere of 'Midnight's Children' during the 56th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon West End on October 14, 2012. Picture: Getty

“The big injuries are healed, essentially. I have feeling in my thumb and index finger and in the bottom half of the palm”, he said.

“I’m doing a lot of hand therapy, and I’m told that I’m doing very well.”

He added that due to the lack of feeling in his hands he was no longer able to type “very well”, and has had a mental block.

“There is such a thing as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), you know. I’ve found it very, very difficult to write”, he said.

Sir Salman at the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019.
Sir Salman at the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019. Picture: Getty

“I sit down to write, and nothing happens. I write, but it’s a combination of blankness and junk, stuff that I write and that I delete the next day. I’m not out of that forest yet, really.”

He continued: “I’ve simply never allowed myself to use the phrase ‘writer’s block’. Everybody has a moment when there’s nothing in your head. And you think: ‘Oh, well, there’s never going to be anything.’

“One of the things about being 75 and having written 21 books is that you know that, if you keep at it, something will come.”

Authorities arrested Hadi Matar in connection with the incident that also left the talk’s moderator injured, and they charged him with attempted second-degree murder and attempted second-degree assault.

Matar has pleaded not guilty.

Sir Salman said he blames Matar for the attack and when asked if he feels he was let down by security at the talk, he replied: “I’ve tried very hard over these years to avoid recrimination and bitterness.

“I just think it’s not a good look. One of the ways I’ve dealt with this whole thing is to look forward and not backwards. What happens tomorrow is more important than what happened yesterday.”

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