Rushdie memoirs to lift the lid on life under a fatwa

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The Independent Culture

Sir Salman Rushdie has agreed a multi-million pound book deal to write his memoirs, in what seems likely to be one of the most keenly anticipated literary autobiographies in recent memory.

The Booker Prize-winning author will write the book next year, with a tentative release date of some time in 2012. The deal is a major coup for Random House, Rushdie's long-standing publisher, who announced yesterday that they will distribute the memoir simultaneously in 17 different territories in print, e-book and audio forms. Initially it will be published in English, German and Spanish.

Widely regarded as one of the late 20th century's greatest authors, the British-Indian novelist won critical acclaim with his second novel Midnight's Children and worldwide fame after Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran called for his death following the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988. The novel was condemned by Islamists and sparked widespread protests across the Muslim world. As a result of the death threat, Rushdie went into hiding for more than a decade.

According to a statement released by Random House yesterday, the memoir is described as "an evocation of [Rushdie's] public and personal life: his outsider's experience at British public school and Cambridge; his evolution as a writer; his relationships as a husband and a father; and his years in hiding following the fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini."

In the release, Rushdie was quoted as saying: "I have waited a long time to write this memoir, until I felt I was ready to do it. I'm ready now."

For fans and critics alike it will provide a fascinating insight into a man who has been notoriously guarded about his private life despite his regular appearances in newspaper gossip columns – largely due to the string of attractive and often younger women he has married or been linked with.