The arrogance of those staying away is breathtaking. PEN exists to speak out for writers who are persecuted and threatened. As Salman Rushdie said, he hopes no one ever goes after the writers staying away. Still, it is easier to piss on dead cartoonists than to stand up to ISIS who crucify and behead.
All religions, new and old, should be subject to the same disrespect that Charlie Hedbo so boldly and bravely paid them. As Salman Rushdie, a man who knows a thing or two about this subject, said religion deserves our 'fearless disrespect'. Long may such disrespect, whether it be in Charlie Hedbo or elsewhere, continue.
When the seventh edition of the most famous Jaipur Literature Festival opened at Diggi palace in Rajasthan (India), the charter was set by none other than the famous economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. And, what did he want for the country, the third world nation which on the throes of turning into a vibrant economy?
The British protests against Rushdie's novel and these more recent protests are commonly understood in terms of the free speech versus religious offence argument. But it is important to think beyond this limiting binary to attain a greater degree of intercultural understanding in twenty-first century Britain.
The publication of Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton will inevitably give rise to reappraisal of the Satanic Verses affair. In this pair of articles, we look backwards and then forwards in time from this dispute to other controversies involving religious protests against creative works to add historical depth and complexity to the debate.
Does it take a controversy for an Indie novel to become a bestseller in today's crowded electronic era? Of course if your novel is provocative enough, and both the above are extremely so, it will rub many the wrong way, sufficiently enough to generate that much-needed word-of-mouth buzz, which any marketer worth his/her salt will tell you is invaluable.
Martin Amis provided the evening's most entertaining moments. Going through old photographs with Stephen Fry, he was fantastically funny, noting a baguette stowed away in Hitchens' top pocket while in Paris, and remarking upon his abundant sprouting chest-hair in another that showed him smoking a cigarette while holding a brace of pheasants on the Rothschild estate.