Salman Rushdie to Join Roberto Saviano Onstage at the Turin International Book Fair

| Thu, 05/02/2024 - 06:10
salman rushdie
Salman Rushdie at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2023 / Photo: Markus Wissmann via Shutterstock

In a surprise last-minute addition to the program at the 35th Turin International Book Fair (May 9-13), world-renowned writer Salman Rushdie will join Italian author, journalist and prominent anti-mafia voice Roberto Saviano on stage at the Congress Centre auditorium of the Lingotto Fiere complex.

Rushdie, 76, will present his new memoir Knife: Meditations After an Assassination Attempt (Mondadori, 2024) in a May 10 conversation with Saviano, who himself lives under police protection and has been described as “Italy’s Salman Rushdie.”

Rushdie’s book is a deeply personal account of the harrowing August 2022 attack he experienced while giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. The young male assailant repeatedly stabbed Rushdie in the face, neck and abdomen, leaving him close to death and blind in his right eye. 

Knife, however, is not just a rehashing of the traumatic incident. It chronicles Rushdie’s journey toward physical recovery and emotional healing, which he credits to the love and support of his wife and poet Eliza, his family, doctors, physiotherapists and his literary fans around the world. 

Rushdie, an Anglo-Indian novelist and free speech advocate, has written 40 books translated into over 40 languages, but is probably best known for his controversial satire The Satanic Verses, which prompted an Iranian fatwa calling for his assassination in 1988. Living in London at the time, Rushdie went into hiding for nine years.

Saviano similarly received death threats over his bestselling 2006 book Gomorrah, a work of narrative nonfiction which exposed the criminal underworld of the Camorra, a powerful Naples-based mafia.

Other highlights at this year’s International Book Fair

Known as Salone del Libro in Italian, the International Book Fair is Italy’s largest publishing event and takes place annually in Turin in Piedmont over several days. This year’s theme is Imaginary Life, and the edition has a strong international flavor with participation from many major authors, including Pulitzer Prize winner Elisabeth Strout, who will officially kick off the event. 

The program also includes the “Literatur Parade,” focused on German as its guest language and a structured events calendar around seven sections: art, cinema, information, publishing, “lightness,” romance and novels. There will also be a wide selection of programs dedicated to women and gender-based violence, and a celebration of great female writers and intellectuals. Visitors will also have ample opportunity to meet with their favorite Italian authors. 

Ticketing, reservations and information for the entire five-day event can be found on the fair’s official website.