May 20, 2022

Salman Rushdie: Digital Archive at Emory 'Allowed Me to Write' Memoir (Video)

From Emory News:

When Salman Rushdie granted Emory University his archive — records that capture 40 years of his literary life — he wasn’t just opening the door to public examination of a writer and his process.

Organizing his life’s writings — which range from scribbled notes and faded faxes to computer files — also made it possible for the celebrated author to tackle in-depth research for a new book, an autobiographical memoir due out later this year.

Emory’s archives “actually allowed me to write the memoir,” says Rushdie, speaking during a March 2 discussion at Woodruff Library on how digital scholarship has impacted his craft, part of a series of programs scheduled during his recent visit as University Distinguished Professor.


Working with Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) to catalogue his writings became an exercise that created a valuable resource when Rushdie began work on his memoir, which he describes as “a long book, over 600 pages.”

As a researcher dedicated to preserving fact, Rushdie knows firsthand that relying upon memory alone has its dangers, making original documentation essential.

Through the digital archive, the author was able to consult a master index within a searchable database — “my life with barcodes,” he jokes —to confirm details that might otherwise have been lost.

Read the Complete Summary

Watch the Video: Salman Rushdie Discusses Creativity and Digital Scholarship with Erika Farr  (Emory U. via YouTube)
The conversation runs 61 minutes.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.