Rushdie’s been named President of PEN America. From ‘A Declaration of Independence’, which he wrote in 1994 for the International Parliament of Writers: “Today, around the world, literature continues to confront tyranny–not polemically, but by denying its authority, by going its own way, by declaring its independence. The best of that literature will survive; but we cannot wait for the future to release it from the censor’s chains. Many persecuted authors will also, somehow, survive; but we cannot wait silently for their persecutions to end.” Good luck to the man.
Philip Pullman has two unlikely admirers–Michael Chabon and Archbishop Rowan Williams. The Babu’s thinking this could be a grand way to yank fantasy and sci-fi onto the list of respectable A-list reading: line up your authors by the door–Banks, Gibson, Terry Brooks–and have them sanctified as canon-worthy by a person of the cloth and a big league literary star. Us sword-and-sorcery barbarians will stroll through those gates yet. (While we’re on the subject, bless you, Maud–I’m stealing your links again.)