Salman Rushdie to Deliver Tanner Lecture

Internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie will deliver a lecture in two parts titled “Step Across This Line” as this year’s Tanner lecturer, focusing on the theme, “The Virtues of Tolerance and the Crossing of Lines: Islam in the History of Western Culture.”

Rushdie first came to the attention of the world at large after a fatwa provoked by his novel, “The Satanic Verses,” was declared upon him, though he had been well known to readers of contemporary literature as one of the most distinguished writers of English. His novel, “Midnight’s Children,” won not only the Booker Prize for the year it was published, but later, was named the outstanding Booker Prize-winning novel in the first 25 years of the prize. The winner of numerous other literary prizes in dozens of countries, Rushdie occupies an unusually prestigious international position as a courageous spokesman for artistic freedoms against religious absolutism.

During his lecture, Rushdie will speak on the issue of the changed nature of frontiers in our time: the frontier as physical reality, as metaphor and as ethical boundary. His concerns will include the historical need of persecuted writers to flee their homelands and the writers’ need to reject metaphorical frontiers in literature. Finally, he will address the issue of living where ethical limits are flaunted in the pursuit of religious and political goals.

An appointment as a Tanner Lecturer is a recognition of uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values. The lectures were established by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner, who was a member of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Utah from 1946 until his death in 1993.

Rushdie’s lectures, free and open to the public, are scheduled for February 25 at 4 p.m. and February 26 at 4:30 p.m., both at the Levinson Auditorium in the Yale Law School.

Rushdie is the author of eight novels: “Grimus”; “Midnight’s Children,” awarded the Booker Prize and the “Booker of Bookers” for the best novel to have won the prize; “Shame,” winner of the French Prize for Best Foreign Book; “The Satanic Verses,” winner of the Whitbread Prize; “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” winner of the Writers’ Guild Award; “The Moor’s Last Sigh,” winner of the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature; “The Ground Beneath Her Feet,” winner of the Eurasian section of the Commonwealth Prize; and “Fury.”

He is also the author of a book of stories - “East, West” - and three works of non-fiction - “Imaginary Homelands,” “The Jaguar Smile,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” He is the co-editor of “Mirrorwork,” an anthology of contemporary Indian writing.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie has also been awarded Germany’s Author of the Year Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature and the Mantua Literary Award. He holds honorary doctorates at five European and two American universities and is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T. He has been awarded the Freedom of the City Award in Mexico City, and holds the rank of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters, France’s highest artistic honor. His books have been translated into 40 languages.

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