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Oct. 29, 2004

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie has been named this year's Janet Weis Fellow in Contemporary Letters. The annual award was established at Bucknell University to honor and recognize an individual who represents the very highest level of achievement in fiction writing.

Rushdie will receive the award and give the talk, "Step Across This Line: An Evening with Salman Rushdie," Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell.

The talk is open to the public without charge.


Satanic Verses

Born in Bombay, India, Rushdie is one of the world's most respected writers, using his unique upbringing and personal history to make bold statements about our contemporary life in both fiction and non-fiction. His writing has won the Booker and the Whitbread prizes, the two most prestigious literary awards in Great Britain.

His first novels are examples of magic realism. His first, Grimus, was published in 1975. His second, Midnight's Children, written in 1981, won the Booker Prize for Fiction and was adapted for the stage by the author; the play was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2002.

Parts of his allegorical novel The Satanic Verses were deemed sacrilegious by many Muslims, including Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa sentencing Rushdie to death in 1989.

While in hiding, Rushdie wrote several books including Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a novelistic allegory against censorship which won the Writers' Guild Award and was later adapted for the stage; East, West, a book of short stories; and The Moor's Last Sigh, a novel that examines India's recent history through the life of a Jewish-Christian family. The fatwa was lifted in 1998.

Many of his numerous essays are included in his most recent work, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002. The essays range from popular culture and football to 20th-century literature and politics

The Weis fellowship was established through a grant from the Degenstein Foundation in honor of Janet Weis, author, civic leader and philanthropist.

Weis is trustee emerita of the university. Her late husband, Sigfried Weis, was chair of the Bucknell Board of Trustees from 1982-88.

Previous recipients of the fellowship award were Toni Morrison and John Updike.

Salman Rushdie Web Links:

For more information, call 570-577-3655.


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