Salman RushdieWe are pleased to announce that renowned novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie will be the keynote speaker at the opening plenary of NAFSA’s 2010 conference in Kansas City.

Widely considered one of the most talented and controversial fiction writers of our time, Rushdie is known for creating captivating stories that challenge official historical, political, and religious doctrine. The publication in 1988 of his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, set off an immediate controversy. Rushdie spent nearly a decade of his career under police protection after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him for his allegedly blasphemous portrayal of Islam in the book. Now the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Rushdie was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2008. He is an outspoken advocate for human rights and artistic freedom.

Rushdie first earned widespread acclaim with his second novel, Midnight’s Children, which won the Booker Prize in 1981 and, later, the Best of the Booker award. Among his other works are The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, a collection of essays entitled Step Across the Line, and The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey. His most recent work, The Enchantress of Florence, was published last year. Rushdie has won many of the world's top literary prizes and received a British Knighthood for "services to literature." He served as president of The PEN American Center, the world's oldest human rights organization, from 2004 to 2006.

Rushdie will address conference attendees on Tuesday, June 1, at the Kansas City Convention Center. Learn more about Salman Rushdie and the rest of NAFSA’s conference plenary lineup over the coming months at and here on the NAFSA blog.