Time passes and nothing changes. I remember vividly participating in a PEN rally for Salman Rushdie back in 1988. Among the writers I went with were the late Nancy Milford and Judith Rossner. The room was packed with famous literary names.
Now, with the vicious attack on the famed writer imperiling him, PEN is organizing a new solidarity rally this Friday on the steps of the NY Public Library. A group of writers will read from “The Satanic Verses” and other pieces of his work.
The writers involved so far include Paul Auster, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Tina Brown, Kiran Desai, Andrea Elliott, Amanda Foreman, A.M. Homes, Siri Hustvedt, Hari Kunzru, Colum McCann, Douglas Murray, Andrew Solomon, and Gay Talese.
The event will be live streamed at 11 am with the hashtag #StandwithSalman. It is being organized by PEN, the New York Public Library, PenguinRandom House, and Amanda Foreman’s House of SpeakEasy. The live coverage will be on Twitter @penamerica. If there’s a way to embed it here on the site, I’ll let our readers know.
Amanda writes: “We are again facing a watershed moment. The war against freedom of expression is gaining strength. Globally, over 2000 writers and journalists have been murdered since Rushdie was sentence to death by Iran. On August 19 we have an opportunity to make a stand: courage breeds courage.”