London: Salman Rushdie seems to be reinventing himself as a socialite, as he has been seen at a number of high-profile events in New York, often accompanied by a young woman. It is all the more surprising since the famous author is best known for spending years in hiding to escape threats of violence from Islamic fundamentalists.
Rushdie, 64, went to ground for nearly a decade following the uproar over his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in 1988 novel ‘The Satanic Verses’. A fatwa calling on Muslims to assassinate the author was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini the following year, causing Rushdie to disappear from the public eye. But now the writer is highly visible, according to a leading daily, as he is primarily based at his home near the city’s Union Square.
His party schedule includes premieres, such as that of the Broadway musical about Spider-Man penned by his friends U2, and art gallery openings. Rushdie also finds time for literary gatherings, where he can often be seen reading his own works from an iPad. He is equally ubiquitous online, as his use of social media has introduced him to a new generation of readers. Friends said that they thought Rushdie appreciated New York’s busy lifestyle and diversity.
“I think he enjoys the speed of New York,” a leading daily has quoted David Nevins, an executive at Showtime, for whom the author is currently writing a script as saying.
Deepa Mehta, who is the director of a forthcoming film adaptation of Rushdie’s novel ‘Midnight’s Children’ said that Rushdie feels “safe” in New York.
“To fully be able to breathe, to be in New York, he feels safe. It’s freedom. This is a person happy to be alive,” she added.