What would life be like if you had to change your name as protection from a death sentence?
In 1989, a fatwa (religious edict) was issued against Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini because of his book The Satanic Verses, which was felt to contain blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammad. Rushdie went into hiding for almost 12 years. His protectors asked him to change his name and he chose Joseph Anton, the first names of authors Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov.
In Joseph Anton: A Memoir - he hated it when his security people called him “Joe” - Salman Rushdie discusses the private and the public: his formative years in India, his family and personal relationships, and his development as an author, as well as the political and cultural changes occurring around the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s and their impact on free speech and the role of the author.