Salman Rushdie, the Mumbai-born author of the Booker Prize-winning novel ‘Midnight’s Children,’ is among over 40 Indian-origin professionals and community leaders to be recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
In a list announced on Wednesday night as the Jubilee Honours to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years of service to the UK, Rushdie is appointed a Companion of Honour, an exclusive club with membership limited to just 65 people at any given time, for services to literature.
“It’s an honor to be among such distinguished company, both past and present,” said the 74-year-old author, who was the target of a fatwa issued by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini over 30 years ago for his controversial work The Satanic Verses.
The Companion of Honour is a prestigious honour given to persons who have made a significant long-term contribution to the arts, science, health, or governance.
Few people earn this honor, which has previously been bestowed on former British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and John Major, as well as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking.
The citation for Rusdhie, author of 14 books, states, “He later attended Rugby School and King’s College, Cambridge, where he read History.”
Midnight’s Children, which he began his career in advertising, was awarded Best of the Bookers by the public twice (1993 and 2008). In 2007, he was knighted for his contributions to literature.
It also mentions that he is a well-known nonfiction author, an essayist, a co-editor, and a recognized humanist.