Salman Rushdie has been taken off a ventilator and was able to talk on Saturday, his agent confirmed to The Guardian, two days after he was stabbed at an event in New York.
The Indian-born British novelist remains hospitalised with serious injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted on Saturday evening that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and joking)”.
Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that information without offering further details, The Guardian reported.
Earlier on Saturday, Hadi Matar, the man suspected in Friday’s attack at a literary festival in upstate New York, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault at a brief court appearance where he was denied bail.
Joe Biden, the US president, praised Rushdie for “his refusal to be intimidated or silenced” and said the author stood for the essential ideals of truth, courage and resilience.
“These are the building blocks of any free and open society. And today, we reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression,” the president said in a statement. Biden also said he was “shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack”.