(The Hill) – In his first interview since being stabbed onstage at an event in Chautauqua County, novelist Salman Rushdie said that he is grateful for the people showing support and the emergency workers who responded after his attack.
“I’m lucky,” he told David Remnick of The New Yorker. “What I really want to say is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude.”
“At some point, I’d like to go back up there and say thank you,” he continued.
Rushdie was stabbed in the neck before he was supposed to present a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in August. His co-moderator also suffered an injury, but Rushdie had more serious injuries and had to be placed on a ventilator.
A New Jersey man, Hadi Matar, was charged with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault for allegedly attacking the author in August.
Rushdie was born in Mumbai, India, and his work “The Satanic Verses,” which was published in the late 1980s, caused global controversy because many Muslims considered it blasphemous. Former Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie in 1989 because of the work.
Rushdie, who is still recovering from his injuries and is now blind in his right eye, said in the interview with The New Yorker that he still needs “constant checkups” and that he cannot type or write very well as a result of his injuries. He said he has also faced challenges sleeping due to “frightening” nightmares.
“There have been nightmares — not exactly the incident, but just frightening,” he said. “Those seem to be diminishing. I’m fine. I’m able to get up and walk around. When I say I’m fine, I mean, there’s bits of my body that need constant checkups. It was a colossal attack.”
When asked what he thought of Mater, the man who attacked him, Rushdie said, “I don’t know what I think of him, because I don’t know him.”
“All I’ve seen is his idiotic interview in the New York Post,” he continued. “Which only an idiot would do. I know that the trial is still a long way away. It might not happen until late next year. I guess I’ll find out some more about him then.”
Mater gave an interview from jail with the New York Post shortly after the attack and said he was “surprised” that Rushdie had survived. He said in the interview that he went to the event after seeing it posted on Twitter and that he did not think Rushdie was a “good person.”
Rushdie is now considering writing a piece on the attack in a sequel to his book “Joseph Anton,” a third-person memoir published in 2012. He said that this one would likely not be written in the third person.
“I think when somebody sticks a knife into you, that’s a first-person story,” he said in the interview. “That’s an ‘I’ story.”