LONDON -- Salman Rushdie , the author of "The Satanic Verses," who was forced into hiding for a decade after the leader of Iran's revolution ordered his assassination, has been made knight, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday.
CNN reporter Christianne Amanpour, a KGB double agent, and a man considered Britain's toughest human rights critic were also on the list of honors marking Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday. (The queen turned 81 on April 21, but traditionally celebrates the day in June.)
"I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honor, and am very grateful that my work has been recognized in this way," Rushdie said in a statement.
Rushdie is one of the most prominent novelists of the late 20th century and is known for his unique mix of history with magical realism. His 13 books have won numerous awards, including the Booker Prize for "Midnight's Children" in 1981 . In 1993 , the novel won the "Booker of Bookers," honoring the best novel in the 25-year history of the prize.
He went into hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill the author because "The Satanic Verses" allegedly insulted Islam.
Ian Botham , one of Britain's most successful 20th-century cricket players, was also made a knight.
Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, and Shami Chakrabarti , a government lawyer-turned human rights campaigner, were named Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE. That honor was also given to Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis and comedian Barry Humphries , who created the character of Dame Edna Everage.
One of the most remarkable names on the list is former KGB agent Oleg Gordievsky , who like Rushdie lived for years under the threat of assassination.