Salmon Rushdie honoured at UCD


Author Sir Salman Rushdie was tonight honoured by one of Ireland’s oldest universities with an award in memory of writer James Joyce, his greatest inspiration.

Accepting the prestigious Joyce Award, Rushdie, whose controversial The Satanic Versesforced him into hiding for ten years, praised the Ulysses author for teaching him to be daring in his writing.

“There is one thing I tried to learn from him (Joyce) which is a daring of language,” the Indian-born author said.

“My little contribution has been to create an Indian English to go alongside the Irish English, Caribbean English and Australian English.”

He was honoured by University College Dublin’s Literary & Historical Society and joins an elite and diverse list including former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, author Bill Bryson and Hollywood comedy star Will Ferrell.

Sir Salman, an avowed atheist, was raised a Sunni Muslim. After The Satanic Verseswas published in 1989 he lived under an Iranian fatwa, or religious decree, calling for his death.

He said the Joyce Award was an emotional honour.

“James Joyce was probably more of an inspiration to me than any other writer ever has been,” he said.

“To get an award with his name on it is a really moving thing, I’m very happy to have it.”

Sir Salman addressed hundreds of students and entertained them with a passage  containing “pornographic tulip material” from his latest novel The Enchantress  of Florence.

This was the first of several speaking engagements the writer has in Dublin  which include the Institute of Advertising Practitioners Awards at the RDS and  an address to Trinity College’s historical society tomorrow.