Writers shouldn't have lives that are interesting. It gets in the way of your work.
If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based, and without which Muslim countries' freedom will remain a distant dream.
Memory is a way of telling you what's important to you.
The suicide bomber's imagination leads him to believe in a brilliant act of heroism, when in fact he is simply blowing himself up pointlessly and taking other people's lives.
One of the things I've learnt is not to depend on there being a woman in your life to make it work. I love my work, I love my children, I've got wonderful friends, you know, I have a nice life.
What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.
In an ideal world, you could reunite the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir with the Indian-occupied part and restore the old borders. You could have both India and Pakistan agreeing to guarantee those borders, demilitarise the area, and to invest in it economically. In a sane world that would happen, but we don't live in a sane world.
At the height of the British Empire very few English novels were written that dealt with British power. It's extraordinary that at the moment in which England was the global superpower the subject of British power appeared not to interest most writers.
What I worry about and don't like is the way in which the ideology of multiculturalism has declined into cultural relativism. I think that's very dangerous. When the Archbishop of Canterbury, for God's sake, says that you can't have one law for everybody... that's stupid.
An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship - it is a crime against our nature as human beings.
I think the veil is a way of taking power away from women.
One of the things I do take some pride in is that if you had never read an article about my life, if you knew nothing about me, except that my books were being set in front of you to read, and if you were to read those books in sequence, I don't think you would say to yourself, 'Oh my God, something terrible happened to this writer in 1989.'
The gamble of literature is that I make the best work I can; the most truthful, the most representative of how I see things. I try and do that, and then I put it out there and say to you, 'What do you think?' I hope that you think well of it, obviously.
Original thought, original artistic expression is by its very nature questioning, irreverent, iconoclastic.
I've never had very high regard for therapists. I owe my health, my mental survival, to my friends and loved ones.
A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.
Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall.
What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings.
I did a lot of student acting when I was young.
A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.
Two things form the bedrock of any open society - freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don't have those things, you don't have a free country.
Friendships are the family we make - not the one we inherit. I've always been someone to whom friendship, elective affinities, is as important as family.
There is no such thing as perfect security, only varying levels of insecurity.
The thing about literature is that, yes, there are kind of tides of fashion, you know; people come in and out of fashion; writers who are very celebrated fall into, you know, people you know stop reading them, and then it comes back again.
American literature has always been immigrant.
Most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence.
In television, the 60-minute series, 'The Wire' and 'Mad Men' and so on, the writer is the primary creative artist.
Normally when I read, I don't like music playing.
You don't that often see writers being sought out when there are matters of great moment to discuss. And I think that's a loss.