It’s not that easy to be a published author. The book might not succeed, or it might. However, it may take years for a writer to become famous. Also, not all works of a writer get good reception in society. Some get rejected and create controversy. Unfortunately a number of authors end up carrying out the “controversial writer” tag throughout their writing career. Here is a list of three living controversial writers who conveyed their opinions through books and novels, but were labelled as disputatious.
Salman Rushdie: the controversy with The Satanic Verses
Salman Rushdie is one of the most celebrated and also controversial writers of this time. In 1988, he had to go hiding following the fatwa declared against him after the publication of his fourth novel The Satanic Verses. Several attempts were made on his life.
Some extremists in the Middle East still send him death threats. The Satanic Verses drew motivation from the Prophet Muhammad’s life, making various allusions to Islam. The Spiritual leader of the Islamic world and Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared this was blasphemous, who issued a fatwa that called for his death. Later, there was an attempt of assassination in London by a Lebanese Mujahideen group, which had considered him an “apostate.” They prematurely blew up half the hotel he was going to be living in. Rushdie has written his painful experience in his newly published memoir Joseph Anton.
Ahmed Salman Rushdie, or Sir Salman Rushdie, is the most recognizable Indian writer of the modern time, and he brought Indian literature in English to the globe. Born to Kashmiri Muslim parents in Bombay in 1947, Rushdie gained literary fame in the 1980s with the publication of Midnight’s Children (1981). It won the Booker Prize.
Taslima Nasrin: a child of controversy
Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin is one of the most controversial female writers in the world, who fled her home country in 1994. Born and bred in a Muslim family, the 52-year-old controversial writer had authored a controversial novel titled Shame about the violence of Bangladeshi Muslims against Hindus. Islamist fanatics called for her death after the publication of the book. The book was forbidden for hurting Islamic sentiments. Thousands protesters took to the streets, and burnt her books.
Bangladeshi government banned her book, My Childhood, in 1999, stating it might offend the Muslim religious feelings. Also in India, Ms Nasrin’s book was banned following Muslim groups’ protests. Her autobiography Dwikhondito (Split into two), was banned in 2003, by the West Bengal government in India, where a one fourth of the population is Muslim.
During a book launch in 2007 in southern India’s Andhra Pradesh, she was attacked. Muslim clerics in Kolkata, West Bengal issued a death warrant against her. When police in that city were unable to control rioters, the army was deployed. Protesters set cars on fire and pelted police with bricks and bottles full of acid, wounding at least 27 people.
Despite her forced exile and multiple fatwas calling for her death, she continues to be one of the most controversial writers today. She is an award-winning writer and her works have been translated in thirty different languages. Nasrin has always said she wants to make Calcutta, capital of West Bengal state, her home even though the European Union has offered her refuge.
Dan Brown: Robert Langdon series
American author Dan Brown generated controversy after the publication of the novel The Da Vinci Code in 2003. It is a thriller, featuring the lead character Robert Langdon, investigating secret societies, the Catholic Church, conspiracies, and the fictional truth about Jesus Christ. During the course of the novel, it is alleged that the Catholic Church is perpetuating a major, centuries-long conspiracy to hide the truth about Jesus Christ from the public, and it or its agents are willing to stop at nothing, including murder, to do so.
The background of The Da Vinci Code is borrowed from a book named Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The authors sued Brown for copyright infringement, but the case was decided against them. The judge ruled that history and theories are not protected by copyright law, regardless of their accuracy.
Brown’s later works featuring Robert Langdon—The Lost Symbol and Inferno–also created controversy. Critics said that Dan Brown stirs up anti-Catholic sentiment, though Brown said on his website that he is not anti-Christian. Some critics said his writing was clumsy, grammatically incorrect, and repetitive. The 48-year-old author, one of the most best-selling and controversial writers of this time, thinks that those who understand his writing become his fans, and those who do not turn into his critics.
By Rahad Abir