PEN condemns attack on Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie 1992 benefit, Ric Young, Salman Rushdie, Louise Dennys, and Michael Ondaatje

August 12, 2022 — PEN International is deeply shocked and appalled to learn that former PEN America President and renowned writer, Salman Rushdie, was attacked today just before giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. We utterly condemn the attack and wish him a prompt and full recovery.

According to the latest reports, Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck while being introduced on stage at the Institution. The attacker is believed to have stormed the stage and repeatedly assaulted him. His condition is not yet known.

“PEN International utterly condemns the brutal attack on Salman Rushdie. Salman is an esteemed and celebrated author and beloved member of the PEN community, who has been facing threats for his work for years. No one should be targeted, let alone attacked, for peacefully expressing their views. We wish our dear friend a speedy recovery. Our thoughts are with him and his family.” – Burhan Sonmez, PEN International President.

“PEN Canada is horrified by the savage attack on Salman Rushdie, our friend and colleague. Salman is a deeply valued member of PEN, and a tireless champion of freedom of expression. We utterly condemn the attack and wish Salman a swift recovery.” — Grace Westcott,  PEN Canada  President.

Rushdie is the victim of an infamous attack on free speech over the publication of his book The Satanic Verses (1988), when Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death, forcing him to remain in hiding for many years.

PEN International hopes for Salman’s full and rapid recovery and calls for a prompt and thorough investigation into the attack.

Photo credit: Jean-Marc Desrochers Photography