Following the far-reaching controversy over his novel, The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie was issued a fatwa by the spiritual and political leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. Rushdie remained in hiding for ten years after the issuance and his dread and despair has been recorded in the autobiographical novel, Joseph Anton. Till 1998, he could not surface and deliver new work, as a result he decided to stay clear of media coverage until the hostility subsided.
Joseph Anton is the story of the author's fierce battle for freedom of speech and his views against oppression in the name of religion. His fears, troubles and inability to stand-up for his rights have been voiced in this memory from his exile. He could not get involved in anything of relevance, he was to live without any opinions on matters and suppress his emotions in most cases or lose his life forever.
Receiving a phone call on 14 February, 1989 from a BBC journalist that a fatwa had been issued against him, Rushdie was forced to accept a 24-hour surrounded by police officers. As a pseudonym to protect his identity, he gave them the name Joseph Anton to protect his family and his values. Joseph Anton is named after two of his favorite writers, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov. The author brings-to-light his struggle for freedom through speech and writing with the help received from the government, fellow writers, family and friends.
Joseph Anton was published by RHUK in 2013 and is available in paperback.
- It was one of the 14 titles in the longlist for the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize.
- Also shortlisted for the James Tait Black Biography Prize.