Salman Rushdie in Brazil

The CSM catches up with Salman Rushdie, who is in the Brazilian city of Paraty to attend its literary festival.

Since the fatwa was lifted in 1998, Rushdie’s life has gradually been returning to that of an international literary superstar, with foreign travel, speeches and appearances, and even a glamorous model wife. He has taken on a very public role as the president of the PEN American Center, a writers’ human rights organization, and feels at ease doing all the things he did before the death sentence was imposed by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Shuttling between his two homes in London and New York without bodyguards shadowing his every step, Rushdie is in jovial form.

Even being stopped in the street can bring a smile to Rushdie – despite his longstanding reputation for grumpiness. “It’s not so bad to have lots of people interested in what you write,” Rushdie says when asked if the attention bothers him. “The people who come up to me are mostly coming up because they are interested in something I have written. Sometimes it can become intrusive, but on the whole it is not bad, really.”

There’s also lots of praise in the article for Rushdie’s latest novel, Shalimar the Clown, which I’m reading at the moment (and enjoying quite a bit.)