Salman Rushdie says he has ‘crazy dreams’ since stabbing attack

‘I have a very good therapist who has a lot of work to do,’ Rushdie says

Peony Hirwani
Thursday 13 July 2023 05:52 BST
Moment Salman Rushdie's attacker apprehended on stage

Salman Rushdie has opened up about the “crazy dreams” he has had ever since he was attacked on a stage in New York.

The 76-year-old author was stabbed on stage several times in August last year as he was about to give a public lecture at New York’s Chautauqua Institute.

As a result of the attack, Rushdie suffered four wounds to the stomach, three wounds to the right side of his neck and additional wounds to his right eye, chest and his right thigh.

The writer was stabbed by a 24-year-old man named Hadi Matar, who has been charged with attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

Attacks against Rushdie have been feared since the late 1980s and the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, which Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned as blasphemous for passages referring to the Prophet Muhammad.

Khomeini had issued a decree calling for Rushdie’s death after the publication of his book, forcing the author into hiding.

Speaking of the incident a year later, Rushdie told the BBC that he’s physically “more or less OK”.

“I have a very good therapist who has a lot of work to do,” he said. “I have crazy dreams.”

(2017 Invision)

When asked whether he would attend his stabber’s trial later this year, Rushdie said: “A couple of thousand people saw [it happen]. I’m led to believe that [his plea] is just a holding play and that might well change. If I was his lawyer, I would advise him to do so.”

“If he changes his plea to guilty then actually there’s not a trial, there’s just a sentencing, and it may well be that then my presence isn’t required.”

Rushdie said he’s in “two minds” about attending the trial.

“There’s one bit of me that actually wants to go and stand on the court and look at him and there’s another bit of me that just can’t be bothered.

“I don’t have a very high opinion of him. And I think what is important to me now is that you’re able to find life continuing. I’m more engaged with the business of, you know, getting on with it.”

Rushdie also spoke about his next book in which he describes the near-fatal stabbing incident.

“There’s this colossal elephant in the room and, until I deal with that, it is difficult to take seriously anything else.”

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