Sir Salman Rushdie has been bestowed with the James Joyce award at University College, Dublin.

While accepting the award in the Irish capital, the Midnight's Children author said he had learnt a "daring of language" from Joyce, his greatest inspiration as a writer.

Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 after Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him, following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.

The Indian-born author lived under police protection for years until returning to public life in 1998.

Accepting the James Joyce Award on Friday, he told students: "My little contribution has been to create an Indian English to go alongside the Irish English, Caribbean English and Australian English."

He added: "James Joyce was probably more of an inspiration to me than any other writer ever has been.

"To get an award with his name on it is a really moving thing. I'm very happy to have it."

In July, Rushdie's Midnight's Children was named as the best novel to have won the Booker Prize.

The book, which claimed the prestigious award in 1981, was selected by some 36 per cent of voters in a public poll to crown the 'best of the Booker'.

The accolade came 15 years after the novel was chosen as the Booker of Bookers in 1993, a celebratory award created to mark the 25th anniversary of the Booker Prize.

11/10/2008 11:24:13