I had the most exciting evening at Southbank Centre in London. As part of their yearly Autumn Literary Festival, they invite the greatest literary stars from around the world to give talks. Last year I was gutted to miss out on the Margaret Atwood one, and so I wasn’t going to mess around come this year’s line-up. So I secured the tickets for an evening with Salman Rushdie, that international super-star. It felt a bit surreal to see the man in person, I have to admit. I remember bonding with my now-husband discussing the guy’s works as we studied postcolonial literature together all those years ago.
I was nineteen when I came to the UK from Poland, a culturally homogenous country. It was an incredible thrill therefore to explore and learn about the blended identities of people laying claim to more than one cultural backgrounds.
But back to the evening at Southbank. Rushdie filled the Royal Festival Hall, which is truly as amazing an endorsement of his star quality as any awards he’d been showered with over the years. And he did not disappoint. Funny and engaging, he gave his audience a glimpse of his writing process (especially for the new book, The Golden House) and talked at length of the cultural and national identities which shape our lives and, most currently, the political landscape of today’s America and UK.
It felt a privilege to be there, and I look forward to reading his newest novel!