Page last updated at 08:11 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 09:11 UK

Author Rushdie wins Joyce award

Sir Salman Rushdie at University College Dublin
Sir Salman addressed students and read from The Enchantress of Florence

Author Sir Salman Rushdie has been honoured by an Irish university with an award in memory of his greatest inspiration - writer James Joyce.

Accepting the James Joyce Award at University College Dublin, Sir Salman said he said he had learnt "a daring of language" from Joyce.

Previous winners include author Bill Bryson, comedy actor Will Ferrell and ex-footballer Gary Lineker.

Sir Salman's Midnight's Children won the Best of the Booker prize in July.

After a public vote, his 1981 book beat five other former Booker winners, shortlisted from the prize's 40-year history.

Satanic Verses

The Indian-born author told students: "My little contribution has been to create an Indian English to go alongside the Irish English, Caribbean English and Australian English."

To get an award with his name on it is a really moving thing. I'm very happy to have it
Sir Salman Rushdie on James Joyce

He added: "James Joyce was probably more of an inspiration to me than any other writer ever has been.

"To get an award with his name on it is a really moving thing. I'm very happy to have it."

He also read a passage from latest novel The Enchantress of Florence.

Sir Salman went into hiding in 1989 after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.

The book sparked widespread protests by Muslims and Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him.

Khomeini called the book a blasphemy against Islam and sentenced Sir Salman to death.

The author returned to public life in 1998.

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