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Rogue apostrophe in Salman Rushdie book about fatwa years in The Bishops Avenue

PUBLISHED: 16:00 04 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:06 04 March 2013

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center/Opale

Writer Salman Rushdie may have lived there for eight years but it seems even a man of his literary talents has difficulty spelling The Bishops Avenue.

A road sign on The Bishops Avenue. Picture: Nigel Sutton.A road sign on The Bishops Avenue. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

While flicking through the author’s latest book, Joseph Anton: A Memoir, the Ham&High’s Heathman columnist was intrigued to find a rogue apostrophe appearing in every mention of “The Bishop’s Avenue” - where Mr Rushdie lived in a safe house during the years he spent under a fatwa.

The autobiography focuses on the period Mr Rushdie spent in hiding after the death sentence was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the supreme religious leader of Iran, following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses in 1988.

In 1991, he bought a home in The Bishops Avenue and commissioned an architect to turn it into a safe house.

For eight years he lived undetected inside the house, which had its own swimming pool and was designed to accommodate a team of four armed police officers who had their own rooms.

While the author may have had more pressing matters on his mind during his time in Barnet’s very own Billionaires’ Row, it is still a surprise that in eight years on The Bishops Avenue Mr Rushdie never clocked the apostrophe-free street sign.


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