Author Rushdie writing memoir of years in hiding

Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:56am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Salman Rushdie is working on a memoir of his years in hiding after Iran's then supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death edict against him in 1989 for writing "The Satanic Verses," deemed blasphemous to Islam.

The British author has also just published a children's book called "Luka and the Fire of Life," which he wrote for his younger son Milan, and has almost completed the screenplay for a movie version of acclaimed 1981 novel "Midnight's Children."

The 63-year-old said of the memoir that there was an "information vacuum" to fill, and that he finally felt it was time to confront a difficult period in his life.

"I'm beginning to write this memoir," Rushdie told Reuters in an interview. "I've written about ... 100 pages of book and I reckon very roughly that feels like a quarter of the story. I'm aiming, in my mind, for the end of next year (to finish it).

"So far I feel that I'm right -- I'm not getting churned up and upset, I'm just writing it and I'm feeling quite pleased to be writing it."

He said he hoped to finish the memoir by the end of 2011, although timing would depend on whether the movie of Midnight's Children, to be directed by Indian-born filmmaker Deepa Mehta, was made next year.

The Satanic Verses, which appeared in 1988, was Rushdie's fourth novel.

The allegorical fantasy about the struggle between good and evil was seen by many Muslims as blasphemous, leading to riots and calls for the novel to be banned.   Continued...

<p>Author Salman Rushdie poses for a photograph after an interview with Reuters in central London, October 8, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning</p>