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Salman Rushdie named Honorary Visiting Professor of the Humanities (1993)

In November, 1993, author Salman Rushdie made an unannounced visit to MIT to accept an award as Honorary Visiting Professor of the Humanities. Rushdie had been living in hiding ever since a death sentence was issued by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran in 1989. Rushdie would describe the MIT event as "cloak and dagger" because the audience initially came to see the late author Susan Sontag, who strongly supported Rushdie following the Khomeini fatwa. Yet Sontag surprised the audience when she suddenly introduced Rushdie who was greeted with a standing ovation. Rushdie was MIT's first honorary visiting professor. This event was presented by MIT's Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies Writers Series, which has hosted a series of free, public readings by writers since 1978. [T1162]

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