Salman Rushdie writes to Amitava Kumar:
“Dear Mr Kumar,
My attention has been drawn to your website, where you claim that I threatened to cancel my visit to Vassar if you were involved with it. This is inaccurate. At no time did I threaten anything of the sort. I did indeed tell the organizer, Joanne Long, that I was unwilling to share a stage with you, and, after she had read what you have written about me in the past, she understood why I would have that view, and asked you to stand down. It might have been more dignified of you to leave this matter private, but as you have chosen not to do so, you ought at least to strive for accuracy in your reporting of it.”
Amitava had prepared a generous introduction for Rushdie, but hasn’t been quite as generous in the past, as in this piece on Rushdie and Naipaul and this review, which begins with the question: Is Salman Rushdie God?
Amitava is well within his rights to dissect Rushdie’s work in the manner he’s done in the past, even if a lot of it has been a glorification of Naipaul at the expense of Rushdie. And Rushdie is well within his rights to decline to share a stage with a gadfly reviewer. Bit silly of the man to put his thin skin on display, though.