Saturday, October 9, 2010

Salman Rushdie pens kids' book

Salman Rushdie, the prize-winning Indian-born writer, has in the past based novels on the politics of India and Pakistan. But his latest book is for teenagers, and the inspiration — at least some of it — came from video games.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rushdie said Luka and the Fire of Life, his new novel, was written as a birthday present for his 13-year-old son, Milan.

The book, a fable about a young boy's adventures as he tries to save his father's life, is the second novel Rushdie has written for children. His first, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories," was written for his older son, Zafar, in 1989, as Rushdie was under threat of death.

Earlier that year, Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had issued a religious edict, or fatwah, ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie, saying his novel "The Satanic Verses" had insulted Islam.

The new book, Rushdie said Friday, Oct 8 drew inspiration from elements of computer games — though he admitted that he was terrible at the games and his sons usually beat him.

"Video games are often based on a classical quest format. That fits well with a fable," he told the AP. "The book is about the value of life, and in video games you can have a thousand lives. So I contrasted those two things."

Rushdie said much has changed since his first children's book, which he described as a response to being forced into hiding. The fatwah, which came amid angry protests and book burnings across the Muslim world, put Rushdie under police protection for almost 10 years.

"This was a dark time for me and I tried to fill the novel with light and to give it a happy ending. Happy endings were things I had become very interested in at the time," he said.

Rushdie said he enjoyed writing the two children's books, but he doesn't see himself becoming a children's author.

Full report here AP

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