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Salman Rushdie was stabbed onstage last year. He’s releasing a memoir about the attack

NEW YORK (AP) — Salman Rushdie has a memoir coming out about the horrifying attack that left him blind in his right eye and with a damaged left hand. “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder” will be published April 16.

“This was a necessary book for me to write: a way to take charge of what happened, and to answer violence with art,” Rushdie said in a statement released Wednesday by Penguin Random House.

Last August, Rushdie was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and abdomen by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. The attacker, Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and attempted murder.

For some time after Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death over alleged blasphemy in his novel “The Satanic Verses,” the writer lived in isolation and with round-the-clock security. But for years since, he had moved about with few restrictions, until the stabbing at the Chautauqua Institution.

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Author Salman Rushdie responds to questions during a news interview for the 2023 PEN America Literary Gala Thursday, May 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Salman Rushdie honored at PEN America gala, first in-person appearance since stabbingBlood stains mark a screen as author Salman Rushdie, behind screen, is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y., about 75 miles (120 km) south of Buffalo. (AP Photo/Joshua Goodman)Author Salman Rushdie stabbed on lecture stage in New YorkAuthor Salman Rushdie is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y., about 75 miles (120 km) south of Buffalo. (AP Photo/Joshua Goodman)By chance, AP reporter on scene to witness Rushdie attack

The 256-page “Knife” will be published in the U.S. by Random House, the Penguin Random House imprint that earlier this year released his novel “Victory City,” completed before the attack. His other works include the Booker Prize-winning “Midnight’s Children,” “Shame” and “The Moor’s Last Sigh.” Rushdie is also a prominent advocate for free expression and a former president of PEN America.

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“‘Knife’ is a searing book, and a reminder of the power of words to make sense of the unthinkable,” Penguin Random House CEO Nihar Malaviya said in a statement. “We are honored to publish it, and amazed at Salman’s determination to tell his story, and to return to the work he loves.”

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This cover image released by Random House shows “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder” by Salman Rushdie. The book, about the attempt on his life that left him blind in his right eye, will be published April 16. (Random House via AP)

Rushdie, 76, did speak with The New Yorker about his ordeal, telling interviewer David Remnick for a February issue that he had worked hard to avoid “recrimination and bitterness” and was determined to “look forward and not backwards.”

He had also said that he was struggling to write fiction, as he did in the years immediately following the fatwa, and that he might instead write a memoir. Rushdie wrote at length, and in the third person, about the fatwa in his 2012 memoir “Joseph Anton.”

“This doesn’t feel third-person-ish to me,” Rushdie said of the 2022 attack in the magazine interview. “I think when somebody sticks a knife into you, that’s a first-person story. That’s an ‘I’ story.”