“It’s my story, and at some point, it does need to be told. That point is getting closer, I think,” he told reporters at Emory University in Atlanta, where an exhibition of his personal correspondence, notebooks, photographs, drawings and manuscripts is set to open on Friday. “When [the archive material] was in cardboard boxes and dead computers, it would have been very, very difficult, but now it’s all organised,” he said.
Last year marked 20 years since the Iranian leader called for Rushdie’s execution, saying that his novel The Satanic Verses insulted Islam, Mohammed and the Qur’an. The edict, which followed street protests and book burnings across the Muslim world, forced Rushdie to go into hiding under police protection for almost 10 years.
Back in 2002, in an exclusive interview with January Magazine, Rushdie told us that the book he was promoting at that time — the collection of essays, Step Across This Line, was, in part, his attempt to stop people from asking about his years in hiding and living under the fatwa.
Rushdie said that “one of the reasons for trying to put into this book that material which deals with those years is that I thought it would sort of draw a line under it. Because, really, the answers to most of the stuff that people have asked me about those years are here, you know? So, in a way, people don’t have to ask me anymore. They just have to read the book.”
At that time, he said he thought it was “about time to declare the subject closed.”
Eight years on, looks like it’s open again.