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Literary world applauds Sir Salman
Author Salman Rushdie is to receive a knighthood from the Queen, recognising the services to literature of one of the world's most lauded - and most divisive - literary grandees, reports the Guardian. "I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour, and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way," the newly-minted Sir Salman said in a statement.
The announcement signals a belated endorsement by the British establishment, says the newspaper, 18 years after the author was forced to go on the run after The Satanic Verses was condemned as blasphemy by Iran's late spiritual leader. Britain broke off diplomatic relations over the incident; Rushdie himself had to live in hiding for a decade.
"I am delighted for him," said fellow novelist Ian McEwan said last night. "He's a wonderful writer, and this sends a firm message to the book-burners and their appeasers."
Political leaders in Iran were less effusive.