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Salman Rushdie to release book on near-fatal stabbing

NEW YORK – British author Salman Rushdie is to release a memoir about the stabbing attack that nearly killed him last year when a knife-wielding assailant jumped on stage at an arts event in New York state.

Mr Rushdie, who lost sight in one eye in the attack, has faced death threats since his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses was declared blasphemous by Iran’s supreme leader.

“This was a necessary book for me to write: a way to take charge of what happened, and to answer violence with art,” he said in a statement via his publishers, Penguin Random House.

The book, entitled Knife: Meditations After An Attempted Murder, will be released next April. Mr Rushdie said in May he was working again, having struggled to write for several months.

Ms Nihar Malaviya, chief executive officer of Penguin Random House, described it as “a searing book, and a reminder of the power of words to make sense of the unthinkable.”

She hailed “Salman’s determination to tell his story, and to return to the work he loves.”

Mr Rushdie was stabbed multiple times in the neck and abdomen at a literary conference in the small town of Chautauqua, before attendees and guards subdued the attacker.

The Booker Prize-winning author, 76, has since worn glasses with a black lens over his right eye at rare public appearances.

Mr Rushdie lived in hiding for years after Iran’s first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered his killing.

A naturalised American based in New York, he has also been a leading campaigner for free speech.

Mr Rushdie’s attacker, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey with roots in Lebanon, has pleaded not guilty to assault charges. AFP

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