Earlier this week, Salman Rushdie was at Duke University to deliver the annual John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute’s Distinguished Lecture. In his speech, titled “Public Events, Private Lives: Literature and Politics in the Modern World,” the novelist told the audience to “push out boundaries” and warned that “the consequences for the writer can be very serious.”
When he was done, the Durham Herald-Sun reported, it was time for questions from the audience.
“You have spoken about how other writers have suffered because of what they’ve written,” asked a young woman. “Have you yourself ever felt endangered?”
Rushdie, with a neatly trimmed goatee and looking quite professorial, giggled briefly. “There’s a short answer,” he replied. “Yes.”
, yes. This was, according to someone who attended the lecture, the last of three questions the audience had for Rushdie in the brief Q&A session. The exchange, which opened the Herald-Sun’s account of the speech, was for some reason overlooked by the
in the student newspaper’s writeup of the event.