The author, whose writing led to death threats following a fatwa from the Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was attacked by an unknown assailant just before he was due to start speaking. The incident took place at the Chautauqua Institution to the west of the US state, near the Canadian border.
An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced.
The author was taken or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained.
Sir Salman was forced into hiding after the publication of his 1988 book The Satanic Verses, for which many Muslims accused him of blasphemy.
Since the fatwa, the author has faced repeated calls for his murder and an assassination attempt – a plot to use a bomb in London in 1989, when the bomb exploded early, killing the assailant.
Sir Salman has also faced calls for his death from Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.
In a statement published shortly after news of the attack in New York broke, PEN, a writers’ association of which Sir Salman was the American president for a time, said it was “deeply concerned” by the incident.
It added: “We condemn the attack and wish him a fast recovery.”
The Chautauqua Institution sits on the edge of the Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, to the south-west of Buffalo.
More to follow…