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Inaugural Speaker: Author Sir Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie, one of the most celebrated and controversial figures in modern day literature, will serve as the first speaker in the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture Series on May 4, 2011 at 6 p.m. in the Main Auditorium. Rushdie is best known for his novels Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses, the latter of which earned him worldwide recognition as a champion of free speech.

Rushdie has achieved international acclaim for his literary works and has penned more than 14 books, for which he has received countless honors. For Midnight’s Children, he received the world’s most esteemed literary award-- the Man Booker prize, as well as the Booker of Bookers in 1993 and the Best of the Booker prize in 2008 for the greatest novel in the 40-year history of the award. In 2007, Rushdie was knighted for his contributions to literature.

Rushdie holds twelve honorary doctorates and fellowships at both European and American universities, and is a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature. He also served for two years as president of The PEN American Center, the world's oldest human rights organization.

The College of Arts and Sciences was able to secure Rushdie through Dr. Jennifer Yusin, assistant professor in the Department of English and Philosophy, and with the generous support of the Good Idea Fund. Yusin met Rushdie when she was a graduate student at Emory University and now teaches his work in her courses.

“After attending many of Salman Rushdie’s lectures over the years, I can say with confidence that he is dynamic, intellectually rigorous, funny, and appeals to varied audiences,” said Yusin. “I also believe…that college is not just a place to prepare students for careers but also an environment in which we help our students to become critical thinkers of the world in which we live. An evening with Rushdie is an evening in which students may stop, just for a moment, worrying about what job they will get after graduation, how they will repay their student loans, what grade they will earn in a particular class, and to engage the mind purely for the joy of the intellectual pursuit."