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Salman Rushdie on Truth, Language and the Power of Stories

One of the most important and original thinkers of our times explores the creative lines that join art and life

Salman Rushdie, internationally bestselling author and ‘Best of the Booker’ winner, is a storyteller of the highest order, illuminating truths about our society and culture through his dazzling prose. Best known as a novelist, he is also a compelling essayist and on May 26 he comes to Intelligence Squared to talk about the ideas in his latest collection of nonfiction, Languages of Truth. In conversation with cultural critic Shahidha Bari, Rushdie shared with us his personal encounters, on the page and in person, with storytellers from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Philip Roth and Toni Morrison. We heard his thoughts on Christopher Hitchens and the American Right, Osama Bin Laden and Pakistan, and on the role of artists, intellectuals and ordinary citizens in fighting for freedom of speech and thought. 

Salman Rushdie photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths



Salman Rushdie

One of the world’s most acclaimed authors

Author of fourteen novels including Grimus, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Shalimar the Clown, and Quichotte (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019). He has also published works of non-fiction including Joseph Anton and The Jaguar Smile, and co-edited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. A former president of PEN American Center, Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for services to literature. His latest publication is the essay collection Languages of Truth.

Shahidha Bari

Writer, academic and broadcaster

Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at London College of Fashion at the University of the Arts London, and a Fellow of the Forum for Philosophy at the London School of Economics. She is a regular presenter of the BBC Radio 3's Arts and Ideas programme, Free Thinking, and an occasional presenter of BBC Radio 4's Front Row and Saturday Review. She contributes to Aeon, The Financial Times, Frieze art magazine, The Guardian, The Observer, The Times Literary Supplement and other publications. She is the author of Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes.


Speakers are subject to change.