Rushdie essay reinstated by new Granta editor

<p>An essay by Salman Rushdie, rejected by former Granta editor Alex Clark for inclusion in the magazine shortly before her departure, has been reinstated by new editor John Freeman and will run in the next issue, Granta 109: Work, available from January.</p><p>Granta owner Sigrid Rausing has denied suggestions that a row over the rejection of the Rushdie piece was a contributory factor in the twin departures of Clark, and later Granta Publications m.d. David Graham, during last summer.</p><p>Clark, Granta&rsquo;s first woman editor, left in May after nine months in the chair, with Graham leaving in June. Reasons for their departures have not been made public.</p><p>Rushdie&rsquo;s lecture, on the subject of sloth, was given at Capri&rsquo;s Le Conversazioni literary festival in June and published in pamphlet form for attendees. Clark, and Granta senior editor Rosalind Porter, had decided against printing it in the magazine, as Granta&rsquo;s editorial policy is only to accept unpublished work. A judgement on appropriateness and quality was also thought to have been a factor in the decision.</p><p>However a brief rejection email from Porter, intended only for an agent at Rushdie&rsquo;s literary agency, Andrew Wylie, was forwarded to the author. The email&rsquo;s tone apparently caused the Booker Prize-winner offence and Rushdie asked that his name be removed from the list of Granta&rsquo;s regular contributors in consequence.</p><p>After Clark and Graham left, Freeman, Granta&rsquo;s US editor, took over as acting editor, and then editor. Porter has now also left Granta in a redundancy made following a restructure.</p><p>Rausing said: &ldquo;I am very happy to say that Salman Rushdie&rsquo;s piece &lsquo;Notes on Sloth: from Saligia to Oblomov&rsquo; is indeed appearing in the next issue of Granta. It&rsquo;s an extraordinary essay ranging over Fellini, boarding school, Pynchon, Shakespeare, literary games with Christopher Hitchens, Dante, Montaigne, Conrad, Newton, De Quincey, Proust, and, an imaginary feat, Oblomov and Linda Evangelista, in bed together: </p><p><em>&lsquo;Oblomov is content, and drowsy. Linda is unhappy, tense, wide-eyed. But character is destiny, as Heraclitus said, and they are both in the grip of the terrible fate of having to be themselves. The day drifts on. Here we lie, they say silently, almost echoing Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms. We can do no other. They do not move.&rsquo; </em></p><p>&ldquo;Alex felt that the piece wasn&rsquo;t quite right, and John Freeman, our new editor, has re-instated it. I liked it too, but it wasn&rsquo;t my decision&mdash;editors&rsquo; tastes differ, obviously. It had nothing to do with Alex or David leaving seven months ago, or Ros leaving now.&rdquo; </p><p>Rushdie said: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve spoken to Sigrid Rausing a couple of times and she told me that the restructurings in Granta were completely unconnected to anything I&rsquo;ve written. It is true that I offered this piece to Granta and that there was a rude email that went to the agency that was forwarded to me. Like anyone who receives a rude email, I wasn&rsquo;t particularly happy about it. But I spoke to Alex after that, and said: &lsquo;Look, I have no interest in forcing people to publish things they don&rsquo;t want to publish,&rsquo; so I withdrew it from consideration. </p><p>&ldquo;And later John Freeman, when he took over, contacted me and asked me if I&rsquo;d be prepared to allow them to revisit it, so I said: &lsquo;If you want to do it, do it,&rsquo; and that&rsquo;s the extent to which I know anything about this.&rdquo; </p><p>Clark, Porter and Graham all declined to comment.</p>