Three days after an assailant attacked Salman Rushdie during an appearance in western New York, the acclaimed author is recovering but still in critical condition, according to his family and agent.
Andrew Wylie, Rushdie’s agent, said shortly after the attack that the 75-year-old author had suffered serious injuries, including a damaged liver, and may lose one of his eyes. On Sunday, Wylie gave an update to CNN, saying that Rushdie was off a ventilator and “the road to recovery has begun.”
“It will be long—the injuries are severe. But his condition is headed in the right direction,” he added.
Having been the target of death threats for years—including from the government of Iran, who has explicitly called for his assassination for years under a fatwa—Rushdie was in front of an audience at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday when an attacker rushed onstage and began stabbing him. Law enforcement named the assailant as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, whom they took into custody.
Zafar Rushdie wrote on Twitter on Sunday that his father “remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment.”
“Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact,” he wrote.
— Zafar Rushdie (@ZafRushdie) August 14, 2022
Rushdie received an outpouring of support over the weekend from authors, politicians, and others, even as expressing support for him has brought threats in at least one high-profile case. After author J.K. Rowling tweeted on Sunday in support of Rushdie, saying she was “feeling very sick,” a Twitter user responded “Don’t worry you are next.” A Police Scotland spokesperson said that they were investigating the online threat, and the account is now suspended, according to The New York Times.
Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, said in a statement on Friday that they were “reeling from shock and horror at word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie, who was reportedly stabbed multiple times while on stage speaking at the Chautauqua institute in upstate New York. We can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil.”