British novelist Sir Salman Rushdie was made a Companion of Honour at Windsor Castle on Tuesday, nine months after he was stabbed repeatedly in New York.
The honour was presented in recognition of his contribution to literature.
The author, who has been a constant target of threats and attempts on his life, said that receiving the award from Anne, the Princess Royal, was a “great honour.”
The 75-year-old said the award recognised a “lifetime” of work, and he described the princess as “very generous”.
Back to writing
After a recovery period from the recent assault, which was allegedly perpetrated by an Islamic extremist, the author has returned to his writing desk.
The attack left him with significant injuries and he admitted to needing considerable time for recovery.
When questioned about the anticipated completion of his next book, he replied with a light-hearted, “Oh, I’ll let you know.”
The path of recovery
In his first interview since the attack, Sir Salman spoke of his gratitude and appreciation for the vast support and assistance he received in the wake of the incident.
The Indian-born British author has lived under a persistent threat since the publication of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which prompted the former supreme leader of Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, to issue a fatwa calling for his death.
Reflecting on the recent violent incident and his subsequent recovery, Sir Salman spoke of the support he received from first responders, the medical professionals who treated him and his family.
He praised his wife, American poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths, saying: “She just took over everything, as well as having the emotional burden of my almost being killed.”
He said the lingering impact of the attack, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, had affected his writing.
“I’ve found it very, very difficult to write”, he said, but despite the hurdles he remains determined to return to his craft, understanding that the process might require patience.
His alleged attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in New York's Chautauqua County Court.
Despite the incident, Sir Salman said he is focusing on the future rather than harbouring bitterness: “What happens tomorrow is more important than what happened yesterday.”