Coldplay’s charismatic leader Chris Martin gave a shout out for Salman Rushdie during a sell-out and characteristically energetic concert by the band at London’s Wembley Stadium this week.
As thousands of LED bracelets glowed red and formed giant hearts around the stadium, he urged everyone to raise their arms and “send out love, to Ukraine, to Salman Rushdie…”
His gesture came as today’s (19 August) mass reading of Rushdie’s work organised by PEN America, Penguin Random House and the New York Public Library takes pace at the Stephen A Schwarzman Building in New York. Participating authors are expected to include Kiran Desai, Hari Kunzu, Paul Auster, Andrew Solomon, GayTalese, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Tina Brown, Andrea Elliott, Amanda Foreman, A M Homes, Siri Hustvedt, Colum McCann and Douglas Murray.
Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, said: “For more than 125 years, The New York Public Library has championed the free exchange of ideas and open access to books, knowledge, and information. Among our highest values are the sharing of great writing, ensuring a diversity of voices and opinions can be heard, and connecting readers to stories and books that challenge, provoke, and expand their worlds. As our world grows ever more divided, it is critical that writers, like Salman Rushdie, feel safe to share their perspectives and make their voices heard.”
Rushdie was attacked on stage at an event in Chautauqua, New York State, on 12 August and suffered “life-changing” injuries.
Marx continued: “Writers worldwide stand in solidarity with Salman Rushdie and celebrate his extraordinary literary accomplishments, undaunted courage, and tireless advocacy for the freedom of expression and the plight of imperilled writers everywhere. Join PEN America, The New York Public Library, and Penguin Random House as we gather with Rushdie’s friends, fellow members of the literary community, and readers to share selected texts from his body of work.”