When The Satanic Verses came out 25 years ago, it quickly became one of the most talked about and controversial novels of all time. In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran, issued a death warrant for Rushdie, with a bounty on him of more than $2 million dollars for representations of Muhammed in the novel that were “blasphemous against Islam.”
Riots, protest, bookstore bombings, and book burnings ran through the Islamic world in reaction to the book. Of all the books, especially fiction, we are likely to see published in our lifetimes, The Satanic Verses was a global phenomenon that reminded us, sometimes violently, of the power of art to comment, critique, offend, and provoke.
It seems appropriate, then, to mark the 25th anniversary of The Satanic Verses with a collection of 25 international covers of a book that rocked the globe.
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