Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 12:52 UK

Rushdie 'may write book on fatwa'

Salman Rushdie talks about how 'soft power' including the internet can defeat tyranny

Sir Salman Rushdie says he may write a book about the fatwa imposed on him 20 years ago after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.

The author, who went into hiding for nine years, told BBC's Newsnight he had found the experience "very difficult".

"I guess there's a story there," he said. "Various people [are] encouraging me to tell it, and maybe I will."

Iran's late Ayatollah Khomeini imposed the fatwa over The Satanic Verses' reference to the prophet Mohammad.

The Booker Prize-winner said his solitude was "full of restrictions and problems, not just for me but for my family and publishers.

"The bad period was roughly speaking nine years long. It's now been nine years since then. So it does feel like an earlier chapter."

"At the time it was something I was just trying to get through and get out of," he added.

'Change the world'

The author said he did not think the situation would happen again.

He cited the example of a German play based on his novel which has appeared within the last year and did not garner protests.

He also spoke of the importance of the internet as a way of narrowing the gap between cultures.

He said: "The more aspects of Western culture people become aware of, in whatever tyrannical country - whether it's China or Iran - people want it.

"It may well be that what we think of as trivial and banal stuff like YouTube and MySpace, this may change the world.

"The internet is showing people what life can be like. And when people who live in repressive countries see that, it makes them want it."

The author, who was knighted in June last year, became a literary star overnight at 34 with Midnight's Children.

Earlier this month, the novel, which deals with the personal and political aftermath of India's independence, won the Best of the Booker prize.

It book beat five other former Booker winners shortlisted from the prize's 40-year history in a public vote.

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