Salman Rushdie is on the cusp of finishing a new novel. The author behind Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses was in conversation with Kirsty Wark at the Cheltenham Literature Festival when he exclusively revealed he had just written the conclusion to his latest work.
“I think I’m in danger of finishing,” he said. “A novel. I’ve actually done that scary thing called getting to the end which is not the same thing as finishing.”
Called Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, the new book’s title holds special resonance for Rushdie. “Because that’s One Thousand and One nights. Just the Arabian Nights – One Thousand and One,” he said, in reference to the famous collection of Asian stories.
“I just rather loved it. You’ve got two, eight, twenty-eight – you’ve got another symmetrical number describing that very famous symmetrical number.”
The author, 67, also revealed his new fiction would be substantially shorter than his famously hefty volumes – Midnight’s Children totals over 600 pages. “It’ll be, like, 250 pages. It’s like clearing my throat. I’ve finally learned in my old age how to shut up.
The only people who actually write long books now are really bad writers. If you’re writing Twilight, you could write 900 pages but if you’re writing actual literature, you don’t talk too much.”
The novel will mark Rushdie’s first published work since 2012’s Joseph Anton: A Memoir and while there’s still no publication date, the author did reveal, “I’ve got about a month of tweaking and fiddling and fixing and tailoring to do.”