Rushdie, along with all other authors, has an unquestionable right to publish his views freely, regardless of any offence that this may cause to anyone. I nevertheless think that the decision to give him a knighthood was ill-judged. Moreover, I question whether it is ever appropriate for authors to be given honours of this kind. It seems to me that writing is an essentially private affair; one writes primarily for oneself and probably all good writing is in some sense subversive, a challenge to the status quo or prevailing view. Authors don't need state recognition and are better without it.