The Rushdie and Naughtie Show


Wimbledon Bookfest’s headline act speaks about his life, literature and his up and coming memoir.


By Kieran Walsh

Literary star Salman Rushdie headlined Wimbledon Bookfest 2010 last Sunday.

He was interviewed by renowned journalist James Naughtie.

A new addition to the event, The Big Tent on Wimbledon Common, was a full house on the cultural festival’s final day.

Three hundred attendees were anxious to see the Booker Prize winner discuss his work and life and promote his new book ‘Luka and the Fire of Life’.

“I thought it was an enormous success. There has been such a buzz around the place because of Rushdie,” said BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Mr Naughtie.

“This event is just a great reminder that people still have an appetite for smart, funny and interesting discussions. It’s very reassuring.”

The talk consisted of an interview and an open forum for questions from audience members who paid £15 to attend.

The breadth of discussion moved from literary theory around ‘magical realism’ to the nine years Mr Rushdie spent in hiding due to the fatwa placed on him by the then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei in 1989.

Mr Rushdie said: “I had to fight back it’s better than sitting in a corner waiting for parcel to blow up.”

One of the biggest revelations was that Mr Rushdie claimed to have completed a screenplay of his notoriously difficult book, ‘Midnight’s Children’, and plans to write a memoir.

However Mr Rushdie added: “It was never my intention to write a memoir it’s not what I became a writer for. But I’ve just had the misfortune of having an interesting life.”

As Wimbledon Bookfest came to close after its fourth year one of the events organiser’s, Fiona Razvi, said she hoped this would inspire more people to get involved in the arts in Wimbledon.

Upcoming events include a music festival in November.

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