Rushdie reflects on being an Emory professor

When celebrated fiction writer Salman Rushdie contemplated Emory's offer to join the university faculty, he worried it might interrupt his work. His experience as University Distinguished Professor has proven that worry to be ill-founded.

Rather Rushdie has found that being kept on his mark by curious students has fed his fiction in affirming ways. "Usually there's a jumble in your head, and you write your book out of it," he says. But in preparing lectures, he found himself working out "what I think about what I think."

In his first years at Emory, Rushdie taught graduate seminars where he says he really got to know the students. The second part of his tenure has included a wide range of activities from classroom teaching and lectures to faculty forums and literary events.

"It's been good for me," says Rushdie of his appointment, which culminates in his keynote address at Emory's 170th commencement exercises. "I've never had an experience like this of being inside an academic institution over a long period of time. It's been educational, and what you hope for," he says. "You hope to get as much as you offer." At Emory, he got both.