New York, Feb.16 (ANI): British novelist Ian McEwan has revealed that he gave Indian-born Salman Rushdie shelter in his Cotswold cottage after Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the latter twenty years ago.
McEwan reveals that Rushdie and he hid away shortly after the fatwa was issued on February 16, 2009 14, 1989.
This intimate detail is contained in a long profile of McEwan published in next week's issue of the New Yorker, The Guardian reports.
Written by an editor at the magazine, Daniel Zalewski, the profile explores McEwan's growing commitment to science and rationality as a factor, alongside the Rushdie affair, behind the controversy over Islamic fundamentalism in which he later became embroiled.
The Cotswold encounter came days after the fatwa was issued, when Rushdie was at the start of many years of internal exile.
"I'll never forget - the next morning we got up early. He had to move on. Terrible time for him. We stood at the kitchen counter making toast and coffee, listening to the eight o'clock BBC news. He was standing right by my side and he was the lead item on the news. Hezbollah had put its sagacity and weight behind the project to kill him," McEwan tells the New Yorker.
Until the dispute over The Satanic Verses and its supposed blasphemy against Muhammad erupted, McEwan had been regarded by several of his friends as leaning towards a more spiritual view of the world.
The New Yorker crowns McEwan as "England's national author", remarking that he is now pursued by the British media with an avidity otherwise reserved only for Amy Winehouse. (ANI)