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Vermont Public's 2015 interview with novelist Salman Rushdie

Angela Evancie
A look back at a 2015 Vermont Public interview with novelist Salman Rushdie on fiction, religion and freedom of expression.

Earlier this month the novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed before a talk he was scheduled to give in western New York. The attack left the 75-year-old novelist with serious injuries that required surgery, and he was unable even to speak after being placed on a ventilator. His long-term prognosis is uncertain.

More from Vermont Public: Salman Rushdie in Vermont

Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 when leaders in Iran issued a call for his death following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Islamic extremists considered blasphemous. After some years in exile, Rushdie had begun making public appearances again, despite the dangers.

More from NPR: Exiled writers reflect on freedom of speech in America in light of Rushdie attack

Rushdie came to Vermont, back in 2015. He visited Vermont Public's studio to discuss his children's novelHaroun and the Sea of Stories, which had been selected for a statewide community reading program.

Vermont Public's Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Rushdie about the novel, and part of their discussion focused on violence committed in the name of religion, which at the time was very much in the news—as it is again now, following the murders of illustrators and writers who worked for the French satirical magazineCharlie Hebdo.

Have questions, comments, or concerns? Send us a message or tweet your thoughts to @mwertlieb.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.
Karen is Vermont Public's Director of Radio Programming, serving Vermonters by overseeing the sound of Vermont Public's radio broadcast service. Karen has a long history with public radio, beginning in the early 2000's with the launch of the weekly classical music program, Sunday Bach. Karen's undergraduate degree is in Broadcast Journalism, and she has worked for public radio in Vermont and St. Louis, MO, in areas of production, programming, traffic, operations and news. She has produced many projects for broadcast over the years, including the Vermont Public Choral Hour, with host Linda Radtke, and interviews with local newsmakers with Morning Edition host Mitch Wertlieb. In 2021 Karen worked with co-producer Betty Smith on a national collaboration with StoryCorps One Small Step, connecting Vermonters one conversation at a time.
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