Salman’s leap for literary freedom

John Freeman in The Scotsman:

For the past year, however, Rushdie’s professional attentions have been focused on his role as president of PEN/America, which entails not just putting on fancy events but filing legal action. Mention the US government’s attempt to ban literature from countries like Iran to him now and he immediately switches into policy wonk mode.

“PEN has been fighting that particular regulation for a long time,” he says and then explains some of its details. “The US government is just now beginning to plane back on it. The question is whether the damage is already done.”

It seems somewhat ironic that Rushdie should survive a period of life-threatening danger, living in 30 houses in nine years, and wind up in the land of the free only to discover that he must start campaigning for freedom all over again.

If there is resentment, though, he certainly doesn’t show it. Rushdie has lived part-time in New York for more than five years now, and he’s not about to stop. He can at least now freely play table tennis with fellow author Jonathan Safran Foer without first greeting photographers outside.

More here.