Salman Rushdie lost sight in one eye and used one hand in a “brutal” knife attack in New York
Released: 8:31 am EDT, Oct. 23, 2022 | Updated: 1:07 PM EDT, Oct. 23, 2022
Author Salman Rushdie has lost sight in one eye and mobility in one hand after he was brutally stabbed to death while giving a lecture in New York, his agent revealed.
The 75-year-old – best known for his novel The Satanic Verses, which sparked a fatwa calling for Iran’s supreme leader to be killed – was stabbed multiple times as he stepped on stage to deliver a lecture on artistic freedom at Chautauqua to hold institute on August 12th.
Mr Rushdie had to undergo emergency surgery after suffering stab wounds to his neck and abdomen, stab wounds to his right eye and chest and a laceration to his right thigh.
It was not clear at the time if Mr Rushdie would survive the attack as his accused attacker Hadi Matar, 24, said in a prison interview he was “surprised” the author had survived.
And now agent Andrew Wylie has revealed for the first time how serious Mr Rushdie’s injuries are in an interview with Spanish newspaper El País.
“His wounds were deep. He lost sight in one eye. He suffered three serious neck injuries and lost mobility in one hand because nerves were severed from the stab wounds,” said Mr Wylie.
Salman Rushdie (pictured) has lost sight in one eye and mobility in one hand after he was brutally stabbed to death at a lecture in New York, his agent revealed
“And he suffered another 15 injuries to his chest and torso. So it was a brutal attack.’
The agent declined to comment on whether his client is still in the hospital, but added, “Rushdie will survive.”
Mr Wylie said he had discussed the possibility of an assassination attempt with Mr Rushdie in the past.
He said: “The greatest danger he has faced so many years after the fatwa was imposed comes from a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking [him].’
“Well, you can’t protect yourself from that because it’s completely unexpected and illogical. It was like John Lennon[‘s murder].’
But Mr Rushdie had spoken in an interview just days before he was stabbed about how his life was “back to normal” after years of hiding and death threats.
Mr Rushdie (pictured treated after the attack on the Chautauqua Institution in New York) had to undergo emergency surgery after suffering three stab wounds to his neck, four to his stomach, stab wounds to his right eye and chest and a laceration to his right Thigh
In an interview with German magazine Stern in early August, Mr Rushdie said death threats had “become more normal” – but the fatwa no longer scared him.
He said: “A fatwa is a serious matter. Luckily we didn’t have internet back then. The Iranians faxed the fatwa to the mosques.
“It’s all a long time ago. Today my life is completely normal again.”
The man accused of stabbing Mr Rushdie pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and second-degree assault when he appeared in court on August 18.
Hadi Matar, 24, appeared in court wearing gray striped jumpsuits and a white COVID-19 mask as District Attorney Jason Schmidt claimed: “His mission to kill Mr. Rushdie is, in his opinion, greater and outweighs his personal freedom.”
Accused attacker Hadi Matar, 24, (pictured in court on August 18) said he was “surprised” the author survived
Mr Schmidt argued that Matar should be remanded in custody to look into the course of the attack and he was ordered not to have any contact with Mr Rushdie.
He also agreed to a motion by his defense attorney to issue a temporary gag order barring the parties from discussing the case in the media.
In his interview with El País, Mr Wylie also spoke about the “rise in nationalism” and the banning of Maus – the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by another of its authors, Art Spiegelman – in some American schools.
The graphic novel was banned by a Tennessee school district for “inappropriate language” (eight swear words) and an illustration of a naked woman.
Mr Wylie said: “You know, that’s the religious right to behave the way they are behaving. It is ridiculous. It is ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. But it is a great force in the country now.”