The Wizard of Oz 'was my very first literary influence,' writes Salman Rushdie in his
account of the great MGM children's classic. At the age of ten he had written a story, 'Over the Rainbow', about a colourful fantasy world. But for Rushdie The Wizard of Oz
is more than a children's film, and more than a fantasy. It's a story whose driving
force is the inadequacy of adults, in which 'the weakness of grown-ups forces
children to take control of their own destinies'. And Rushdie rejects the conventional
view that its fantasy of escape from reality ends with a comforting return to home, sweet home. On the contrary, it is a film that speaks to the exile. The Wizard of Oz
shows that imagination can become reality, that there is no such place like home,
or rather that the only home is the one we make for ourselves.
Rushdie's brilliant insights into a film more often seen than written about are
rounded off with his typically scintillating short story, 'At the Auction of the Ruby
Slippers,' about the day when Dorothy's red shoes are knocked down to $15,000 at a
sale of MGM props.
In his foreword to this special edition, published to celebrate the 20th anniversary of
the BFI Film Classics series, Rushdie looks back to the circumstances in which he
wrote the book, when, in the wake of the controversy surrounding The Satanic Verses
and the issue of a fatwa against him, the idea of home and exile held a particular
SALMAN RUSHDIE is the author of eleven previous novels Luka and the Fire of Life, Grimus, Midnight's Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence and one collection of short stories, East, West. He has also published three works of nonfiction The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991, and Step Across This Line and coedited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. He is the former president of American PEN.
Foreword.- A Short Text About Magic.- At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers.- Credits.- Bibliography.