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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 02:32 GMT 03:32 UK
Salman Rushdie's controversial career
Sir Salman Rushdie
Sir Salman was able to return to public life in 1999
Sir Salman Rushdie's knighthood has reignited debate and controversy surrounding the novelist.

Sir Salman, who has been accused of insulting Islam, was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

His knighthood has been condemned by Pakistan's parliament and Iran said it demonstrated "Islamophobia" among British officials.

Sir Salman was catapulted to literary fame with his magic realist novel Midnight's Children in 1981.

The son of a successful businessman, he was born into a Muslim family in Mumbai in 1947.

He was educated in England at Rugby School and studied history at Cambridge University.

Booker prize

Following an advertising career in London, he became a full-time writer.

Key works
Midnight's Children (1981)
Shame (1983)
The Satanic Verses (1988)
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990)
The Moor's Last Sigh (1995)
The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999)
Shalimar the Clown (2005)

His first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975 but was generally ignored by the book-buying public and literary establishment.

But his second work - Midnight's Children - won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was awarded the Booker of Bookers in 1993 after being judged the best novel to have won the prize during its 25-year history.

Sir Salman, 60, is renowned as a purveyor of story as political statement.

Death sentence

He takes history and fictionalises it, with imaginative brilliance, and much of his work is set in his native India and Pakistan.

His fourth book - The Satanic Verses - describes a cosmic battle between good and evil and combines fantasy, philosophy and farce.

It was immediately condemned by the Islamic world because of its perceived blasphemous depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.

It was banned in many countries with large Muslim communities and in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's spiritual leader, issued a fatwa, ordering Sir Salman's execution.

In 1998, the Iranian government said it would no longer support the fatwa, but some groups have said it is irrevocable.

Padma Lakshmi and Sir Salman
Sir Salman and his actress wife Padma Lakshmi

Despite living as a virtual prisoner, with full police protection, Sir Salman continued to write and produced several novels and essays during his confinement.

He returned to public life in 1999 and even appeared in the hit movie Bridget Jones's Diary.

Since he returned to public life, he has not shied away from controversy.

A devout secularist, he backed Commons Leader Jack Straw over comments in 2006 on Muslim women and veils.

Sir Salman said veils "suck" as they were a symbol of the "limitation of women".

He also weighed into the furore surrounding the Danish cartoons, which satirised the Prophet Muhammad, warning against Islamic "totalitarianism".

The author married for the fourth time when he wed Indian actress Padma Lakshmi, in Manhattan in 2004.

Of his knighthood for services to literature, Rushdie said: "I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour, and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way."




SEE ALSO
Rushdie and Eavis lead honours
16 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Sir Salman: your thoughts
19 Jun 07 |  South Asia
Rushdie jumps to Grass's defence
17 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Timeline: Iran
24 May 07 |  Country profiles

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