Rushdie is a British-Indian novelist known for the allusive richness of his language and the wide variety of Eastern and Western characters and cultures he explores. After his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses was deemed sacrilegious, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or legal ruling, sentencing him to death. Rushdie was forced into hiding, where he wrote Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a novelistic allegory against censorship. What is the fatwa's current status?
Back in the day
Born Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I was the first pope to choose a double name; he did so to honor his two immediate predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. Refusing to have the millennium-old traditional Papal Coronation, he instead opted for a simplified ceremony. His 33-day papacy was one of the shortest reigns in papal history, resulting in the "Year of Three Popes." What were some of the conspiracy theories that arose at the time of Pope John Paul I's death?
Born on a day like today
CortÃ¡zar was an Argentinean novelist who gained recognition as one of the century's major experimental writers. A permanent resident of France after 1951, his works reflect his interest in French Surrealism, psychoanalysis, photography, jazz, and revolutionary Latin American politics. His masterpiece, Rayuela, translated as Hopscotch, is a dazzling literary experiment that is considered one of the best novels written in Spanish in the past century. What is unique about the novel?