Author Salman Rushdie, whose work is a symbol of creative expression and political courage for many people, joins the series of testimonies in solidarity with the Roma community in order to ponder central notions such as human rights and freedom of speech. Having extensively dealt with questions of migration, (in)tolerance, and difference in his literary work, in his address Rushdie delves into the question of the capacity of art and creative expression to help in shaping another order of things in the world, and to inspire a desire for change and hope in that possibility. Indeed, both his writing and life as a public intellectual have been embedded in genuine idealism about the necessity of moving forward despite obstacles such as discrimination and fear. As an alternative to the politics of inequality, we find in Rushdie’s work the conviction and belief that art can speak powerfully—through its emancipatory faculty of imagination—on behalf of the oppressed and against the powerful. (Maria Hlavajova)
SALMAN RUSHDIE (born 1947) is a distinguished novelist and essayist, and a key figure in postcolonial literature. His books explore central themes such as displacement and migration, identity, East and West, the vagaries of language and translation, creative expression, and freedom of speech. A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie has received numerous literary prizes including the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, the Writers’ Guild Award, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, and the Booker Prize. His many books, which have been translated into over forty languages, include: Luka and the Fire of Life (2010); The Enchantress of Florence (2008); Shalimar the Clown (2005); Fury (2001); The Ground Beneath her Feet (1999); The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995); East, West (1994); The Satanic Verses (1988); and Midnight’s Children (1981). Rushdie lives and works in London and New York.