Salman Rushdie Taken Off Ventilator and Is Talking

Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed multiple times as he was about to deliver a lecture in western New York State Friday, has been taken “off the ventilator, and talking (and joking),” according to author Aatish Taseer, who tweeted the update Saturday.

The “Satanic Verses” author’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed the information to the Associated Press.

No further details of his condition were released.

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The attack occurred Friday at western New York’s Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was to deliver a lecture about the United States being a safe haven for exiled writers when a man rushed the stage and began to stab him repeatedly in the neck and abdomen. He was airlifted to a hospital in Pennsylvania, where he underwent emergency surgery. Wylie told the New York Times Friday night that Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak.

“The news is not good,” Wylie said via email to the Times. “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”

Police detained suspect, Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, on the scene and “formally charged him with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second Degree,” Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said in a statement.

Matar pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Saturday and is being held without bail at Chautauqua County Jail.

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