Who is Salman Rushdie and why is he controversial?

Sales of Salman Rushdie's controversial book The Satanic Verses have skyrocketed since the India-born-British novelist was stabbed on stage in New York on Friday.

The 75-year-old wrote the surrealist book in 1988 but was immediately hit with criticism as some Muslim nations, most notably Iran, deemed the book to be blasphemous against their religion. As a result, a 'fatwa' calling for Rushdie's death was placed and the author has been facing death threats ever since.

Rushdie was stabbed 10 times while speaking at the Chautauqua Institution and was placed on a ventilator while being treated for his wounds. His nerves were severed in one arm and damage to his liver and may lose one eye. However, it has since been confirmed by Rushdie's agent, Andrew Wylie, that he was now off a ventilator and is able to talk.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Rushdie, many people encouraged others to go out and buy a copy of The Satanic Versus in a show of solidarity.

It would appear that people have indeed done that as sales of the book have soared in the past 48 hours. At the time of writing, the book is now number five on Amazon's overall best sellers for fiction and is number one in their Celtic, English & Welsh Myths & Legends section.

Meanwhile, Rushdie's other best-known work, 1981's Midnight's Children has also entered Amazon's Top 100 and is also the best seller in Coming of Age fantasy ebooks.

Beyond the digital realm, in-person sales of the book have been boosted as well. Speaking to AFP, Katie Silvernail, a department manager at New York's iconic Strand Bookstore said: "People came in looking for any of his writings, wanting to know what we had.

"Some of our younger staff had never heard of him, so it was interesting to chat with them yesterday, after customers came in for his books, about who he was and how he influenced the world of literature. Honestly, I think a lot of people came here yesterday to talk about how they felt and what happened."

Rushdie was forced into hiding for 10 years after the initial backlash against his book but has since appeared to brush off the death threats against him. He even appeared in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiam where he bragged about attracting women with the allure of 'fatwa sex.'

24-year-old Hadi Matar has been charged with Friday's attack and has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder. He remains in custody without bail.

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