The conversation, held on the opening night of the three-day gathering, was moderated by the New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman.
Before an audience of about 400 in a converted night club, Pamuk and Rushdie discussed the influence of their countries on their writing, their attitude to the subjects they discuss in their novels and how far their characters reflect real-life people.
Treisman asked, "You’re both secular people. You come from two countries where religion has a central role. Do you feel less comfortable in your own countries?"
Rushdie said, “No, there are many people who think like I do."
Pamuk responded, "My country has a strong secular history. Religion is not strong enough to efface everything."