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Salman Rushdie Can No Longer Use An Eye And A Hand After Onstage Attack, Agent Says

Forbes 10/23/2022 Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff


Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie has lost sight in one eye and the ability to use one of his hands after he was stabbed onstage in August, his literary agent said this weekend, in the first update on the author’s condition in months.

Salman Rushdie at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 10, 2015, in Cheltenham, England. Getty Images © Provided by Forbes Salman Rushdie at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 10, 2015, in Cheltenham, England. Getty Images

Key Facts

Andrew Wylie, who represents Rushdie and some of the world’s other best-known writers, told Spanish newspaper El Pais Rushdie is unable to use one hand because nerves in his arm were cut.

Rushdie sustained 3 serious neck wounds and 15 additional wounds in his chest and torso during the attack, which Wylie described as “brutal.”

Wylie would not comment on whether Rushdie was still in the hospital, but said the author will survive his injuries, which he said is “the more important thing.”

Key Background

In August, Rushdie was attacked just after taking the stage in Chautauqua, New York, for a lecture on writers living in exile. Just after Rushdie was introduced, police say Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, jumped onstage and attacked Rushdie with a knife. Matar pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault in August. In a jailhouse interview with the New York Post, Matar praised Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the former Iranian leader who called for Rushdie’s death more than three decades ago over The Satanic Verses, which was partially inspired by the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and sparked backlash from religious leaders who said the novel was blasphemous. Khomeini issued a fatwa (a legal ruling on a point of Islamic law) urging Muslims to kill Rushdie and his publishers “without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth,” and offered a bounty of $2.8 million. Rushdie is the fifth person connected to the publishing of the The Satanic Verses to have been the victim of violent crime.


Sales of The Satanic Verses—which was first published in the U.S. in 1989—soared after Rushdie was attacked, becoming the 18th-most-popular book in the U.S. on Amazon.

Further Reading

Salman Rushdie Stabbing Suspect Praised Iran's Khomeini — Here's What We Know About Hadi Matar (Forbes)

Suspect In Salman Rushdie Stabbing Charged With Attempted Murder — Latest In History Of Attacks Against Those Involved In ‘The Satanic Verses’ (Forbes)

‘The Satanic Verses’: Salman Rushdie Books Climb U.S. And International Bestseller Lists After Attack On Author (Forbes)

Author Salman Rushdie Attacked Onstage In New York (Forbes)

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