The works of the Indian author Salman Rushdie often focused on outrages of history and particularly of religions. His book The Satanic Verses earned him a death sentence from the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1900–1989).
Ahmed Salman Rushdie was born on June 19, 1947, in Bombay, India, the only son among Anis Ahmed Rushdie and Negin Butt's four children. His father was a businessman who had been educated at Cambridge University in England. Rushdie's childhood was happy and he was always surrounded by books. Rushdie remembers wanting to be a writer at age five. He was sent to England at age fourteen to attend Rugby, a private school. His fellow students tormented him both because he was Indian and because he had no athletic ability.
Rushdie later attended Cambridge, as his father had done, and his experience there was much more positive. He received his master's degree in history in 1968. After a brief career as an actor he worked as a free-lance advertising copywriter in England from 1970 to 1980. The experience of expatriation (living outside one's country of birth), which he shared with many writers of his generation who were born in the Third World, is an important theme in his work.
Rushdie's first published book, Grimus (1975), was classified as science fiction by many critics. It is the story of Flapping Eagle, a Native American who is given the gift of immortality (eternal life) and goes on a journey to find the meaning of life. Although the book received positive reviews, it did not sell very well. Rushdie continued working as a part-time ad writer over the five years it took him to write Midnight's Children. He quit his job after finishing the novel without even knowing if it would be published.
Released first in the United States in 1981, Midnight's Children is in part the story of a baby who was not only the result of an extramarital affair (an affair between a married
person and someone other than his or her...