Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, has spoken out for the first time since being stabbed last year at an event in New York, saying that he felt "lucky" to have survived.
"What I really want to say is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude," Rushdie said in an interview with The New Yorker, published Monday.
The award-winning novelist was attacked by a man who rushed onto the stage while he was preparing to deliver a lecture on artistic freedom in August. He spent six weeks in the hospital and subsequently lost vision in one eye.
"I've been better," Rushdie admitted when asked about how he was coping emotionally and physically after the stabbing.
"But, considering what happened, I'm not so bad," he continued. As you can see, the big injuries are healed, essentially. I have feeling in my thumb and index finger and in the bottom half of the palm. I'm doing a lot of hand therapy, and I'm told that I'm doing very well."
Rushdie further admitted that he had been having difficulties sleeping following the incident.
"There have been nightmares — not exactly the incident, but just frightening," he said. "Those seem to be diminishing. I'm fine. I'm able to get up and walk around. When I say I'm fine, I mean, there's bits of my body that need constant checkups. It was a colossal attack."
The author has lived under threat since his 1988 novel, "The Satanic Verses," prompted Iran to urge Muslims to kill him. At issue was that many Muslims were outraged by his portrayal of Prophet Muhammad, which they said was an insult to their faith.
At the time, then-Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa — or decree — calling for Sir Salman's assassination. A $3 million bounty was placed on the author's head and although it remains active, Iran's government has distanced itself from it, BBC noted. In 2012 however, a quasi-official Iranian religious foundation added a further $500,000 to the reward.
When asked if he should have been more on guard after moving to New York in 2000, Rushdie said he did not know.
"Well, I'm asking myself that question, and I don't know the answer to it," he said. "I did have more than 20 years of life. So, is that a mistake? Also, I wrote a lot of books."
Rushdie added that he was trying not to "adopt the role of the victim."
"Then you're just sitting there saying, 'somebody stuck a knife in me! Poor me' ... Which I do sometimes think!"
However, Rushdie said that is not how he wanted readers of his latest book, "Victory City," to think.
"I want them to be captured by the tale, to be carried away," he said.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.