Salman Rushdie on ‘road to recovery’ after stabbing, agent says

The author Salman Rushdie is on “the road to recovery” after being stabbed multiple times on stage during a literary event in the US, his agent said.

The Booker Prize-winning author is being treated in hospital for serious injuries. Andrew Wylie, his agent, told Reuters on Sunday that his condition was improving.

“He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun,” Wylie wrote in an email. “It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”

Rushdie suffered stab wounds in the attack on Friday and was flown to hospital by helicopter where he underwent surgery. In an earlier statement to Reuters, Wylie said that Rushdie “will probably lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged”.

Police in New York state have charged a man over the attack and identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey. New York state police major Eugene Staniszewski said there was no indication yet on a possible motive for the attack.

State police said on Saturday that Matar had been charged with attempted murder and assault. Matar’s court-appointed lawyer told Reuters he pleaded not guilty.

Hadi Matar, right, has been accused of stabbing Rushdie and pleaded not guilty on Saturday © Gene J. Puskar/AP

Rushdie was due to speak at the Chautauqua Institution, south-west of the city of Buffalo in western New York state, on Friday.

“At about 11am, a male suspect ran up on to the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer,” New York state police said.

US president Joe Biden on Saturday expressed his shock and sadness over the attack on Rushdie. “All Americans and people around the world are praying for his health and recovery.”

Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses, first published in 1988, generated controversy for how it depicted the Islamic Prophet Mohammed. The book was banned in Iran and, in 1989, the supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie.

Following the death threat, Rushdie went into hiding. He lived with armed guards and adopted the alias Joseph Anton.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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