Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, Midnight's Children, and The Moor's Last Sigh, was recently named president of PEN American Center. Rushdie succeeds Joel Conarroe, a former president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Modern Language Association.
PEN American Center is the largest of 130 centers in 98 countries that compose International PEN, a membership organization of literary writers, editors, and translators.
Rushdie, who will serve a two-year term, says he hopes to attract more young people to PEN and to focus the organization's censorship concerns more on the U.S.
The India native received international media attention when Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned The Satanic Verses as blasphemy and issued a fatwa calling for the author's death. Khomeini died in 1989.