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Posted 13 October 2008

Salman Rushdie honoured by UCD Literary and Historical Society

In recognition of his lifetime contribution to literature, Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie was presented with the James Joyce Award from the UCD Literary and Historical Society on 09 October 2008. Before accepting the award, the Indian-British author gave a reading from his latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence (2008), and took part in a questions and answers session with the audience of students and academics.

Rushdie first came to fame after winning the 1994 Booker Prize for his second novel Midnight's Children (1981). But it was the publication of his controversial fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988) that catapulted the author into worldwide recognition. Following its publication, protests were staged by Muslims in several countries across the globe, the author received countless death threats, and the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the then Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa against the author. As a result, Rushdie spent nearly a decade largely underground, very seldom appearing in public. In June 2007, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to literature. In July 2008 his novel Midnight's Children (1981) won a public vote to be named the Best of the Booker - the best novel to win the Booker Prize in the 40-year history of the award.

"Salman Rushdie receives the James Joyce Award for his truly invaluable contribution to contemporary literature and for his stalwart defence of an individual's right to freedom of expression" said Ian Hastings, Auditor, UCD Literary & Historical Society.

Previous recipients of the Award include: the Beatles producer and music arranger, Sir George Martin; Hollywood comedian, Will Ferrell; Harry Potter author, JK Rowling; and former UN Weapons Inspector, Hans Blix.

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Salman Rushdie honoured by UCD Literary and Historical Society