Author Salman Rushdie receives novel 'Disturbing the Peace' award 

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Author Salman Rushdie received a first-of-its-kind award Tuesday night

Rushdie, who was stabbed onstage before a lecture in August 2022, received the new Lifetime Disturbing the Peace Award from the Vaclav Havel Center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His movements have been mostly kept away from the general public since last year’s attack.

“I apologize for being a mystery guest,” Rushdie said, according to The Associated Press. “I don’t feel at all mysterious. But it made life a little simpler.”

The Havel Center began in 2012, starting as the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation. It is named after a Czech playwright and dissident who was the last president of Czechoslovakia in the wake of the Communist regime began to fall in the 1980s.

CBS journalist Leslie Stahl hosted Tuesday’s event.

Almost a year after his stabbing, Rushdie gave an interview to the BBC in which he said he has “crazy dreams” about the incident. At the time, he said he was working with a “very good therapist” but was still indecisive on whether he would attend another public event that is not invitation-only and controllable.

Rushdie has faced backlash and threats for his work for decades, especially from those who thought his depiction of Islam in his novel “The Satanic Verses,” released in 1988, was blasphemous. Some of that backlash included the banning of the book in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Sudan. 

The author spent a good portion of his speech praising Havel — who was a good friend of his. He said the former president was “kind of a hero of mine” who was “able to be an artist at the same time as being an activist,” according to the AP.

“He was inspirational to me as for many, many writers, and to receive an award in his name is a great honor,” Rushdie added.

The Associated Press contributed.

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