Wednesday night Salman Rushdie spoke at the Chicago Public Library (hat tip to Chicagoist for the heads up). I was able to get in at about 5:30 and the talk began just after 6:00. It was given interview style with a professor from Columbia College's writing department asking questions. Although the interviewer was very hard to hear, Mr Rushdie spoke clearly and was very enjoyable to listen to. In telling of his childhood, he presented a "post-modern limerick".
There once was a man from Japan
Who could never get his limericks to scan
When he was asked why
He said, with a sigh
"You see, it's because I always try to fit as many words as possible into the last line."
He mentioned that people seem to associate him primarily with the situation regarding the fatwa issued against him for The Satanic Verses, and thing that because this very serious thing happened to him, he must be a very serious author. This is not true. I find his books very entertaining. He spoke a lot about the nature of reality in writing (and in life) and said "The thing about memory is... it's always wrong." He pointed out that the important thing in telling a story is that the reality of the story is what is important. That has always been the mark of a great author to me. Naturalism doesn't take nearly the talent or skill that creating a whole world from your imagination and giving it its own reality does.
Afterwards, I was able to get my copy of The Ground Beneath Her Feet signed.