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Salman Rushdie papers

Identifier: Manuscript Collection No. 1000

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Salman Rushdie from 1947-2008. The papers document Rushdie's entire professional career, beginning with the publication of his first novel in 1975 through his most recent writings, and demonstrate the wide range of his literary endeavors, as novelist, essayist, travel writer, political commentator, defender of free speech, and literary critic.

The papers include journals, appointment books, and notebooks; writings by Rushdie, specifically manuscripts and typescripts of his fiction, nonfiction, scripts and other writings; writings by others about Rushdie in addition to writings by other that concern other subjects; correspondence, including family correspondence, general correspondence, Article 19-related correspondence and correspondence with his literary agents; Rushdie's personal papers, which includes his financial, legal and family papers, as well as other miscellaneous papers of a personal nature; subject files which primarily contain material related to various organizations with which Rushdie was affiliated; personal and family photographs, publicity and public event photographs and other general photographs; printed material by and about Rushdie and other general collected printed material; memorabilia related to Rushdie, such as buttons, banners, and other objects; and audiovisual material, such as audio and video recordings of interviews, public appearances and other media events.

Of particular note in the collection are the born digital materials from four of Rushdie's computers in addition to a hard drive. The files currently available to researchers are from one of his earlier computers, a Macintosh Performa 5400; they date from 1992-2002, and consists of notes and drafts of Rushdie's writings and selected correspondence. Of particular interest is a small cache of email correspondence, representing Rushdie's first foray into this emerging form of communication in the late 1990s. The remaining born digital materials are as yet unprocessed. See individual series scope notes for more information.


  • 1947-2012

Language of Materials

Materials primarily in English with some printed material, correspondence, and writings by others in additional languages, including French, German, Danish, Dutch, Persian, and Swedish

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: The following series are completely closed to researchers:

Series 4: Correspondence

Subseries 5.1: Financial files

Subseries 5.4: Family papers

Subseries 7.4: Family photographs

Selected portions in the following series are closed to researchers:

Series 1: Journals and appointment books

Subseries 5.2: Legal files

Subseries 5.3: Other personal papers

Subseries 7.3: Slides and negatives

Series 13: Travel documents, correspondence, some notes relating to Rushdie's writings, health records, financial records, legal records, and phone lists are closed to researchers.

Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance for access to unprocessed born digital materials in this collection. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to unprocessed born digital materials.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in Series 13. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: The use of personal cameras is prohibited.

Researchers are not permitted to copy or download any digital files or applications from the emulated environment or the searchable database on the computer workstation.

Biographical Note

Salman Rushdie (1947- ) is an Indian born British novelist, essayist, and critic. He was born in Bombay (now known as Mumbai), India on June 19, 1947, to Anis Ahmed and Negi (Butt) Rushdie. He moved to England to attend King's College in Cambridge and graduated with a Master's degree in history in 1968. During the 1970s, Rushdie worked as a freelance advertising copywriter for various London firms including Ayer Barker.

In 1975, Rushdie published his first novel, Grimus, but it was his second novel, Midnight's Children, published in 1981, that propelled him onto the international literary stage. This novel won the Booker McConnell prize for fiction that year, and has since been honored as the Best of the Booker both in 1993 and in 2008. Shame, his third novel, which addressed the political unrest in Pakistan, was published in 1983 and won the Prix du Meillur Prize for best foreign language novel in 1984. In 1986, Rushdie visited Nicaragua to observe the social and political conditions of the country which had been under Sandinista control since 1979. The result of this trip, his first work of nonfiction, The Jaguar Smile, was released in 1987

In early 1988, Rushdie published The Satanic Verses, and almost immediately the work received international attention. The book was banned in many Muslim countries for what many believed was its offensive depiction of the Islamic faith and the prophet Mohammed. The Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, soon proclaimed that Rushdie and his publishers should be killed. The death sentence, or fatwa, sent Rushdie into hiding and was reaffirmed by the Iranian government until 1998.

Rushdie continued to write during the years of the fatwa, and in 1990 Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a children's story that began as a bedtime story for his son Zafar, was published in England. Next, Rushdie released a collection of his essays from the previous decade entitled Imaginary Homelands: The Collected Essays, (published under the alternate title Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991 in the United States). In 1994, Rushdie released a collection of short fiction, East, West. Rushdie's next novel, The Moor's Last Sigh (1995), was shortlisted for the Booker McConnell Prize, in addition to winning the Whitbread Novel Award and earned Rushdie the distinction of Author of the Year by the British Book awards. In 1999, Rushdie published The Ground Beneath Her Feet, his interpretation of the Orpheus myth, with global pop stars as the main characters.

Rushdie published several other novels in the next decade, including Fury (2001), Shalimar the Clown (2005), and The Enchantress of Florence (2008). In addition to his fiction, Rushdie has written numerous essays and opinion columns for international publications. In 2003, a second volume of these collected essays was published as Step Across the Line: Collected Nonfiction, 1992-2002.

Rushdie has two sons; Zafar, from his first wife, Clarissa Luard, and Milan, from his third wife, Elizabeth West.


105.5 linear feet (231 boxes; 7 oversized papers boxes and 4 oversized papers folders (OP); 3 extra oversized papers (XOP); and AV Masters (5 boxes)


Papers of British Indian writer Salman Rushdie, including writings, correspondence, photographs, audio-visual material, printed material, and his personal computers.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 13 series: (1) Journals, appointment books, and notebooks, (2) Writings by Rushdie, (3) Writings by others, (4) Correspondence, (5) Personal papers, (6) Subject Files, (7) Photographs, (8), Printed material, (9) Memorabilia, (10) Audiovisual material, (11) Born digital materials, (12) Unprocessed additions, and (13) Additions received from Elizabeth West.


Purchase, 2006 with subsequent additions.


Processed by Jennifer Brady, Laura L. Carroll, Liz Chase, Pat Clark, and Amy Hildreth, February 2009

Series 13 arranged and described at the folder level by Kyle DeBell, Muriel Jackson, and Sarah Quigley as part of the Georgia Archives Institute in June 2017.

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Salman Rushdie papers, 1947-2008
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
May 23, 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • November 24, 2014: Restricted container lists in Series 1 redacted in finding aid. Restricted container lists in Series 10.1, 10.2, and 11 identified in finding aid.
  • June 29, 2017: Series 13 added following processing.

Repository Details

Part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Repository

540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta Georgia 30322 United States