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Professor Gaura Narayan Interviews World-Renowned Author Salman Rushdie at the PAC

A rare performance of Paul Cantelon’s Suite on The Enchantress of Florence brought word and music together in thrilling ways for Purchase students, faculty, and the larger community on Saturday evening, October 13, 2018. World-renowned author, Salman Rushdie, read excerpts from the novel between movements of the suite performed by the American String Quartet. After the performance, Associate Professor of Literature, Gaura Narayan, interviewed Mr. Rushdie on stage. 


An expert in British Romanticism and South Asian literature, Dr. Narayan has published and presented on Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, Phoolan Devi, and Colonial India, among other areas. In her interview, she pressed Mr. Rushdie about the portrayal of women in his novel and solicited his views about the role of religion in the public sphere. The author and the professor also reminisced about the reception of his novel Midnight’s Children in India and an early reading of the novel at Dehli University which Dr. Narayan attended when she was in college there. 


Senior Literature major Eric Brooks, who attended the evening, reflected that “the whole performance was great, especially the interview portion at the end. I honestly could have watched that for the entire two and a half hours….[I]t was really interesting and inspiring to see someone like Rushdie in person.” Senior Literature major Meaghan Hunt was able to meet Salman Rushdie after the performance to get her copy of his book signed. At the meeting, when she informed him that she was writing her Senior Project on his novel, Midnight’s Children, he invited her to ask him any questions she had.


Collaborations across campus are part of the new agenda of Purchase’s Performing Arts Center. According to Seth Soloway, the Director of the Performing Arts Center, “It is deeply rewarding to see this kind of activity start to pop up all over campus. It is our core goal to have the PAC support the academic mission of the College and this serves as a prime example for how that is happening.”