Some people are naturally gifted at expressing their ideas and feelings through writing, while others must learn how to do so.
For those who want to improve their writing and storytelling skills, famous novelist Salman Rushdie has produced a class on writing, available on the learning platform MasterClass.
In the Salman Rushdie Masterclass review, we will share an in-depth look at what the class entails, what you can expect to learn from it, and whether it is worth your time and money.
Who is Salman Rushdie?
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is an Indian-born winning author who writes allegorical novels that explore historical and philosophical themes via surreal characters, brooding humor, and an expressive and dramatic writing style. His treatment of sensitive religious and political themes led him to become one of his time’s controversial writers.
He first worked as an advertising copywriter in London during the 1970s before he published “Grimus,” his debut novel, in 1975. Though “Grimus” wasn’t a huge success, some critics saw him as an author with potential.
Rushdie’s next novel, “Midnight’s Children,” was a highly-successful fable about modern India that won him international recognition. It took five years to write, but it sold half a million copies and won the 1981 Booker Prize. The book was adapted into a film, released in 2012, for which he drafted the screenplay.
In September 1988, Rushdie published his fourth book that endangered his life. “The Satanic Verses,” his postmodern, surrealist story, sparked outrage from some Muslims, who considered its content blasphemous. It became his most controversial work as people claimed that the depiction of Prophet Muhammad was a major insult to their religion.
In 1989, after the publication of his book, the 75-year-old Rushdie had death threats. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader, issued a fatwa or decree in protest, calling for the novelist’s assassination. It forced Rushdie into hiding and under the protection of the British government police forces.
Despite the death threats, Salman Rushdie continued to write, producing a collection of criticisms and essays such as “Imaginary Homelands,” a children’s novel called “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” the collection of short stories titled “East, West,” and the book “The Moor’s Last Sigh.”
After nearly a decade, the Iranian government announced in 1998 that it would no longer seek to enforce its fatwa against Rushdie. Salman Rushdie recounted his own experiences in “Joseph Anton,” a memoir written in the third person. The book title refers to the alias he adopted while in seclusion.
After his return, Rushdie released “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” and “Fury.” In 2002, he wrote “Step Across This Line,” a collection of essays about different subjects.
In Salman Rushdie’s later years, he wrote “Shalimar the Clown,” a novel that looked at terrorism primarily through the lens of those who live in Kashmir. Three years later, he released “The Enchantress of Florence,” which told a story based on Akbar, the Mughal emperor.
Other works of Salman Rushdie include “Luka and the Fire of Life,” “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights,” “The Golden House,” “Quichotte,” and “Languages of Truth: Essays 2003–2020.”
Overview of the Class
In his 4-hour class, Salman Rushdie teaches storytelling and writing, covering many aspects, techniques, tips, and tricks. It contains 19 lessons, making it one of the most extended classes on MasterClass.
Salman openly tells his story, life experiences, and even the bad decisions he made that led him to become the storyteller he’s now. He also shares how he overcame typical writing problems (like writer’s block) with specific methods and tactics.
The goal of the class is to inspire students to start writing their first work without expecting it to be perfect. Rushdie’s class touches on the importance of creating a place. He tells his students to devote significant time and effort to developing the setting instead of just focusing on the character. Here, students will learn that the background gives a clearer view of the characters and their life values and dispositions.
He also shares that a writer can construct a diversified and comprehensive narrative by learning more and experiencing things themselves. His advice for enhancing the writing process is straightforward: go to a place, interact with the locals, embrace their culture, and take in the environment.
Rushdie delivers his lesson in a very precise manner. He shares his tips on how to do research, rewrite and edit, and accept feedback to improve one’s work.
Although Rushdie’s writing MasterClass is based on writing novels, with lessons on narrative structure and style, he demonstrates how to apply storytelling methods to other forms of fictional writing, including film.
To help you decide whether this course is for you, here’s a complete breakdown of Rushdie’s Masterclass:
- Meet Your Instructor
- Determine How to Tell Your Story
- Flesh Out Your Story’s Structure
- Opening Lines With Power
- Drawing From Storytelling Traditions
- Convincing Characters
- Bringing Characters to Life
- Revealing Character
- Setting as a Character
- Your Unmistakably Unique Worldview
- Observing the World
- Developing Your Narrative Style
- Building a Surreal Story
- Researching the Novel
- All Writing is Rewriting
- Editing and Feedback: The Confidence to Share
- Develop Your Relationship With Writing
- Salman’s Global Canon
- Seven Useful Tips For Writers
Aside from the video lessons, the Salman Rushdie MasterClass comes with an 18-page PDF guide with three writing assignments that students can accomplish together with the course. Students can share their finished homework on the messageboard for class discussions.
To get the most out of your annual membership to the Salman Rushdie MasterClass, in addition to the videos and guide, you can also access “The Hub” community. It is where you can interact with other users, ask questions, and get insights.
Pros and Cons
- You will learn from one of the best novelists of his time
- It gives an international point of view
- Rushdie gives practical pieces of advice
- The class structure is easy to follow
- It covers a wide range of topics
- Rushdie gives examples and references
- Not enough assignments or homework
- Too lecture-based, and can be improved if there are more workshops
Who is This Class For?
The Salman Rushdie Masterclass in storytelling is recommended for:
- Salman Rushdie fans and readers
- Aspiring novelist
- Short story authors
- People who need the motivation to write
How Much Does Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass Cost?
You must have a MasterClass membership to access Rushdie’s storytelling class. You can choose from three subscription levels: Individual, Duo, and Family. The billing of your selected plan is on an annual basis.
The Individual subscription plan for MasterClass costs $180 per year. It gives users access to every course in the MasterClass library. Currently, there are over 150 classes taught by A-listers from various industries.
The Duo and Family MasterClass subscription gives you access to the classes and allows you to use multiple devices simultaneously. For $240 per year, Duo provides access on two devices, while the Family option grants up to six devices for an annual fee of $276.
One user shared that MasterClass is one of the most liberating and precise writing courses he has ever done. He appreciates how Rushdie speaks gentlemanly and politely.
Most users agreed that this course was informative and exciting to watch. As one user pointed out, Rushdie’s position as a distinguished writer in Residence at Emory University is a unique selling proposition compared to writers who don’t teach.
Like all things, storytelling is a skill you can improve with practice. Coming up with a story does not happen overnight. You will encounter challenges along the way, but the more you write, the better you will become.
Salman Rushdie is an excellent example of success resulting only from hard work and dedication. In his storytelling MasterClass, he offers explanations on various topics related to writing, from finding your voice to creating believable characters and a precise setting.
We hope that this Salman Rushdie MasterClass review gave you a better idea of what to expect from his course. Remember, though, it all starts with you. Now grab that pen and notebook and let the magic begin!