Noted novelist Salman Rushdie won his second British Book Award for Freedom to Publish, which acknowledges the determination of authors, publishers and booksellers who take a stand against intolerance in face on adversities. Receiving the award, the 75-year-old author said he is proud to “receive it on behalf of everybody fighting that fight.”

“We live in a moment, I think, at which freedom of expression, freedom to publish has not in my lifetime been under such threat in the countries of the West,” the novelist noted in his video acceptance speech. “Obviously, there are parts of the world where censorship has been prevalent for a long-time, quite a lot of the world – Russia, China, in some ways India as well. But in the countries of the West, until recently, there was a fair measure of freedom in the area of publishing,” he added. “Now I am sitting here in the US, I have to look at the extraordinary attack on libraries, and books for children in schools. The attack on the idea of libraries themselves. It is quite remarkably alarming, and we need to be very aware of it, and to fight against it very hard.”

Supported by the anti-censorship organisation Index on Censorship, the award was presented to Rushdie by author Monica Ali at the event held at Grosvenor House in London. The award comes after the author of The Satanic Verses was attacked on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in New York in August, 2022.