The National Book Critics Circle joins the literary community in wishing Salman Rushdie a strong recovery after the attack last week, which has left all of us reeling and reflecting anew on the dangers of persecution and violence faced by writers worldwide.
We applaud Rushdie’s bravery and artistry and condemn violence against all authors. We don’t know the motive of Rushdie’s attacker, but we all watched with horror as the attack took place amid a rising tide of political violence in this country, with death threats and plots against the lives of various public figures across the political spectrum becoming all too common. It’s a reminder that anyone who stands publicly in the name of their work might be risking their life.
The attack on Rushdie also puts in stark relief the disturbing uptick in book bans by school boards and other authoritative bodies in this country, which amount to censorship of literature, and the violent rhetoric espoused by community members toward librarians who dare to make certain books available to readers.
We call on governments worldwide to ensure the safety of authors and those who disseminate their books, rather than the reverse, and until that happens, we stand with all of those who have the courage to make literature available to all.
The Board of the National Book Critics Circle