Trial of Salman Rushdie’s attacker postponed because of author’s memoir | Books

Trial of Salman Rushdie’s attacker postponed because of author’s memoir | Books

The trial of the man accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie has been postponed because of the publication of the author’s memoir about the attack.

A lawyer representing Hadi Matar, who was charged with attacking Rushdie on stage in New York state in 2022, successfully petitioned judge David Foley to delay the trial shortly before it was due to begin on 8 January.

Matar’s lawyer argued that they are entitled to see the memoir, which is due to be released in April, and any related materials before Matar stands trial, as the documents constitute evidence.

On 12 August, 2022, Rushdie was about to speak at the Chautauqua Institution when a man rushed on stage and stabbed the writer multiple times. The attack left Rushdie blind in one eye and affected the use of one of his hands. Matar was arrested immediately after the attack, and he pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault.

A new date for the trial has not been set. The postponement “will not change the ultimate outcome,” said Chautauqua County district attorney Jason Schmidt.

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder will be published on 16 April by Penguin. In June, Rushdie announced that he was working on a new book at Hay festival via a pre-recorded video, telling the audience that it would be “a relatively short book, a couple of hundred pages”.

“It’s not the easiest book in the world to write, but it’s something I need to get past in order to do anything else. I can’t really start writing a novel that’s got nothing to do with this,” he added. “So I just have to deal with it.”

Defense attorney Nathaniel Barone is expected to subpoena the material, AP reported.

Rushdie’s latest novel, Victory City – which was written before the attack – was published in February 2022. He previously published a memoir, Joseph Anton, in 2012, about his time in hiding after the former supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his death after the publication of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, which was deemed blasphemous.

Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House, said that Knife is a “searing” book, “and a reminder of the power of words to make sense of the unthinkable”.

“We are honoured to publish it, and amazed at Salman’s determination to tell his story, and to return to the work he loves,” he added.

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