Lisa Allardice in The Guardian:
Ian McEwan was on holiday on the remote coast of north-west Scotland when he heard the news that his great friend Salman Rushdie had been attacked in New York. His wife, the writer Annalena McAfee, let out a cry from the next door room in the small hotel where they were staying. The numbness of his first response was quickly followed by a feeling of horrible inevitability: “How could I have been so blind?” Like Rushdie, McEwan had hoped the threat of the fatwa was over. “The tragedy of this is Salman always wanted to get back to having an ‘ordinary’ writing life, and that seemed to have happened,” McEwan says on a video call a week after the incident. The 74-year-old novelist is back in his Cotswolds home, surrounded by books and looking slightly beaten up after his first bout of Covid.