The Day Literature Made Headlines: Background information when reading Joseph Anton

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Joseph Anton

A Memoir

by Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2012, 656 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 656 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Beyond the Book:
The Day Literature Made Headlines

Before there was the fatwa, there were protests, bans, and deaths. The first inkling of controversy came just before the book's publication, when an Indian journalist broke the publishing embargo on writing about a book before it is available for sale. Madhu Jain's article, "An Unequivocal Attack on Religious Fundamentalism," was published in the magazine India Today in September 1988, and three weeks later The Satanic Verses was banned in India, Rushdie's homeland. Three days after that, he received his first death threat. Jain has recently responded to Rushdie's accusation that her review was "the match that lit the fire."

Not long after being passed over for the Booker Prize that fall, which went to Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda, Rushdie was scheduled to appear in Johannesburg at a conference about apartheid and, ironically enough, censorship. That week, the South African government also banned his novel, and the conference organizers were forced to withdraw...

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