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‘What I actually look like’: Salman Rushdie shares first selfie since 2022 attack

Novelist was stabbed around 12 times in New York last year

Tom Murray
Monday 06 February 2023 19:40 GMT
Moment Salman Rushdie's attacker apprehended on stage

Salman Rushdie shared a more “prosaic” photo of himself after a new profile showed his appearance for the first time since he was stabbed last summer.

The Indian-born British-American novelist, 75, was stabbed around 12 times at the Chautauqua Institution in New York after a man rushed onto the stage.

His first in-depth interview, published in The New Yorker, is accompanied by a striking portrait of the author, which shows his eye-patch glasses. Rushdie lost vision in his right eye and the use of his left hand after the attack.

Writer David Remnick notes: “There is scar tissue on the right side of his face. He speaks as fluently as ever, but his lower lip droops on one side. The ulnar nerve in his left hand was badly damaged.”

On Twitter, Rushdie shared a selfie of himself with the caption: “The photo in @NewYorker is dramatic and powerful but this, more prosaically, is what I actually look like.”

Rushdie has been under threat of attack since the 1988 publication of his book The Satanic Verses triggered a wave of controversy for its depiction of the prophet Muhammad.

Iran’s former spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the execution of the author, after which Rushdie was forced to spend years in hiding.

Hadi Matar, 24, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of second-degree assault in relation to the August 2022 attack. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is likely to take place in 2024.

“I don’t know what I think of him, because I don’t know him. All I’ve seen is his idiotic interview in the New York Post. Which only an idiot would do,” Rushdie said of his assailant.

Read more about Rushdie’s recovery and the nightmares he suffered after the incident here.

Rushdie’s new novel, Victory City, will be published on 9 February. Read The Independent’s review of the novel here.

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