authors | September 02, 2015

“We Need Fiction”: Salman Rushdie on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Sir Salman Rushdie—one of our most celebrated authors and brilliant provocateurs—appeared last night alongside Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Appearing on NBC to promote Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, his imminent new novel, Rushdie also reveals a few curious anecdotes about writing songs for U2 (!), his friendship with Bono, and dancing with Van Morrison.

“The title, if you do the math, is 1,001 nights,” Rushdie tells Fallon about Two Years. “It’s sort of an Arabian Nights story, transported to New York now. It’s got genies in it—but they attack Manhattan.”

The novel will hit bookstores next week with Penguin Random House, and it’s being described as a “masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. [It’s] satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.”

Near the end of the interview, Fallon prompts Rushdie to comment on his earlier claim: that today, “we need fiction.”

“Before I wrote this [novel],” Rusdie explains, “I was writing a memoir forever and ever. When I finished the memoir—I spent three years writing it, and I was trying really, really hard to tell the truth—I thought, you know what? I’m sick of the truth. I’m going to go to the other extreme.”

To taste “an extract from [the] near beginning,” as Rushdie describes, of this much-anticipated new release, check out “The Duniazát” in The New Yorker, then the brief Q&A with the author in Deborah Treisman’s “This Week in Fiction.”

In his spellbinding lectures, Sir Salman Rushdie speaks about the major themes coursing through his writing, his life and our world: freedom of expression, religion, pop culture, current events at home and abroad, East-West relations, and the role of the artist to shape our understanding of the world. To book Salman Rushdie as the keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.