Salman Rushdie speaks out six months after stabbing attack

Salman Rushdie reveals he has nightmares and PTSD from ‘colossal’ stabbing attack: Author, 75, says he is struggling to write again – and calls New Jersey man who attacked him an ‘idiot’

  • Rushdie, 75,  was attacked by Hadi Matar in New York in August last year 
  • He was stabbed 15 times in the neck and torso and lost sight in one eye
  • Now, he says he has ‘constant’ check-ups but  his main injuries have healed 

Salman Rushdie has broken his silence six months after being stabbed onstage at a literary event to slam his ‘idiot’ attacker and reveal that he has PTSD and nightmares as a result of the ‘colossal’ assault.

Rusdie was onstage at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York when Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey man, charged at him with a knife, stabbing him 15 times in the torso and neck. 

Matar’s motive for the attack remains unclear but in a jailhouse interview last year, he said he disliked author Rushdie for because he had ‘attacked Islam’. 

Rushdie spent six weeks in the hospital and has since been recovering at home.  He is speaking out now to promote his newest book, Victory City, which he completed before the attack. 

Salman Rushdie is seen for the first time since losing sight in one eye in a stabbing attack last August 

In an interview with The New Yorker, he said he’d been ‘better’ but was still suffering and needed constant checkups. 

Iran – which has long wanted Rushdie dead – denied having any involvement in the attack. Matar, in an interview with The New York Post last year, said he ‘didn’t like’ the author.  

‘I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person, I don’t like him. I don’t like him very much.

Hadi Matar, Rushdie’s attacker, remains in jail awaiting trial 

‘He’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems,’ he said. He remains in the Chautauqua County Jail awaiting trial. 

Rushdie called the interview ‘idiotic’. 

‘I don’t know what I think of him, because I don’t know him. All I’ve seen is his idiotic interview in the New York Post. 

‘Which only an idiot would do. I know that the trial is still a long way away. It might not happen until late next year. I guess I’ll find out some more about him then,’ he said. 

While recovering at home, Rushdie has tried and failed to find a TV show that he likes, branding The White Lotus ‘awful’. 

He said he was unimpressed with Harry and Meghan’s Netflix docuseries, which he found ‘banal’, and only enjoyed watching the World Cup. 

Rushdie has last more than 40lbs since the attack, has scar tissue on the right side of his face and has a slight droop in his lower lip. 

‘I’ve been better. But, considering what happened, I’m not so bad. As you can see, the big injuries are healed, essentially.

‘I have feeling in my thumb and index finger and in the bottom half of the palm. I’m doing a lot of hand therapy, and I’m told that I’m doing very well.

‘There have been nightmares—not exactly the incident, but just frightening. 

‘Those seem to be diminishing. I’m fine. I’m able to get up and walk around. When I say I’m fine, I mean, there’s bits of my body that need constant checkups.

‘It was a colossal attack,’ he said. 

Onlookers rushed to help Rushdie at the Chautaqua Institute after the August 12 attack 

Rushdie was airlifted to the hospital after the attack on August 12. He spent six weeks there before being discharged

He has tried to put pen to paper, but says he has trouble finding inspiration.  

‘There is such a thing as P.T.S.D., you know. 

‘I’ve found it very, very difficult to write. I sit down to write, and nothing happens. I write, but it’s a combination of blankness and junk, stuff that I write and that I delete the next day. I’m not out of that forest yet, really.

‘I’ve simply never allowed myself to use the phrase ‘writer’s block.’ 

‘Everybody has a moment when there’s nothing in your head. And you think, Oh, well, there’s never going to be anything.

‘One of the things about being seventy-five and having written twenty-one books is that you know that, if you keep at it, something will come,’ he said. 

He is tempted to write a sequel to his memoir, Joseph Anton, focusing on the assault, but would do so in the first person, joking: ‘This doesn’t feel third-person-ish to me.

‘I think when somebody sticks a knife into you, that’s a first-person story. That’s an ‘I’ story.’ 

Attacker Hadi Matar last year said he stabbed Rushdie because he had ‘attacked Islam’ 

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