Opera based on â€˜Shalimar the Clownâ€™ is now running in St. Louis.
Novelist Salman Rushdie and Indian writer Jerry Pinto will participate in this yearâ€™s Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF), slated for the fall.
Participating writers include Margaret Atwood, Sherman Alexie, Ken Bruen, Margo Jefferson, and Joyce Carol Oates. Some 180 writersâ€™ names have been released by the organizers so far.
This fall’s weeklong run-up to the Sept. 18 event begins the Monday before the festival, with five weeknights of literature-themed â€œBookendâ€ programs presented all over New York City. These â€œBookendsâ€ lead up to a spectacular weekend.
The flagship 14-stage BKBF will take place Sunday, Sept. 18. On festival day, 300 writers of beloved works of fiction and nonfiction, poetry and graphic novels will participate in panels, readings and other creative performances of their work, reported the Brooklyn Eagle.
â€œAmong creative cities, Brooklyn is unique in its combination of highly concentrated talent and unparalleled diversity,â€ said Johnny Temple, publisher of Akashic Books and chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council. â€œBKBF, which showcases both the local and global giants of the literary world, perfectly encapsulates Brooklynâ€™s cosmopolitan vibrancy.â€
Authors this year represent nations and cultures from all over the world â€” South Africa (Imraan Coovadia and Masande Ntshanga) to Australia (Helen Garner), Cameroon (Imbolo Mbue and Patrice Nganang), Chile (Lina Meruane), Czech Republic (MagdalÃ©na PlatzovÃ¡), Denmark (Dorthe Nors), Egypt (Yasmine El Rashidi), France (Maylis De Kerangal and Cyril Pedrosa), India (Jerry Pinto), Israel (Sayed Kashua), Mauritius (Ananda Devi), Mexico (Ãlvaro Enrigue), Nigeria (Okey Ndibe) and Sri Lanka (Anuk Arudpragasam) â€” with more international authors on the way.
Last week, Rushdie joined singers on stage and later mingled with patrons after Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ performance Wednesday of “Shalimar the Clown,” based on his novel, reported the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.
He didn’t get to attend the first performance of the opera; his son, Zafar, was getting married in New York.
But on Wednesday he attended a pre-opera dinner and later took a bow with the cast. He chatted with singers and opera patrons and reportedly told them he loved the opera. Opera Theatre director Tim O’Leary said Rushdie emailed him that “it was an amazing experience. Great show and great to be there.â€
“Shalimar the Clown” is Opera Theatre’s 25th world premiere and the third world premiere in its New Works, Bold Voices series.
Rushdie, one of the most prominent living English language writers, published “Shalimar the Clown” in 2005. He is most famous for his novels “Midnight’s Children,” which won the Booker Prize in 1981, and “The Satanic Verses.” The later book prompted a 1989 fatwa from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and sent Rushdie into hiding for many years. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth of Britain in 2007.
Born into a liberal Muslim family in Bombay, Rushdie sets “Shalimar the Clown” in an idyllic Indian town and in Los Angeles. It involves a young couple, a Muslim man and a Hindu woman, who marry. She leaves him for an American ambassador, who will be targeted for assassination by the jilted husband.