Ian McEwan on ageing, legacy and the attack on his friend Salman Rushdie

Lisa Allardice in The Guardian:

Although not originally part of the notorious gang of writers – Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and the late Christopher Hitchens – who made their names in the 70s and dominated the literary scene for much longer (too long, according to their critics), Rushdie arrived a few years later with the publication in 1981 of Midnight’s Children, which transformed both British and Indian writing, and won the Booker prize that year. “It was amazing, it expanded horizons,” McEwan says. “Salman is a great conversationalist, with a great taste for fun and mischief,” he adds. “So we all got on straight away.”

McEwan’s ambition with Lessons, his 18th novel, was to show the ways in which “global events penetrate individual lives”, of which the fatwa was a perfect example. “It was a world-historical moment that had immediate personal effects, because we had to learn to think again, to learn the language of free speech,” he says. “It was a very steep learning curve.”

More here.