Salman Rushdie MasterClass Review

by Rebecca Salter

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Sir Salman Rushdie is a prolific British-Indian novelist, best known for his writings on migrations and post-colonialism.

Reaching international acclaim with his second novel, Midnight’s Children, Rushdie has since become a household name.

But just how good is the Salman Rushdie MasterClass — and is it really useful for other writers?

These are the points I’ll address in this Salman Rushdie MasterClass review.

First, here are the highlights:


Quick summary

You’ll learn how to: 

  • Tell your story in the best way
  • Create powerful story openings
  • Draw influences from storytelling traditions
  • Conceive and bring characters to life
  • Become a better observer and writer
  • Use surrealist and magic realist techniques
  • Develop and improve your relationship with writing
  • Form strong relationships with editors and agents


  • Learn from a renowned author
  • Great examples and additional resources
  • Practical exercises you can use at home
  • Unique and international point of view


  • Less attention to research early on
  • No reference list in Workbook
  • Fast-paced and hard to take notes
  • Lecture-based rather than workshops

Length of course: 4 hours, 17 minutes, split into 19 lessons

Best for: Anyone who’s serious about writing and willing to put in the time and effort to get their work finished. Less suited to those interested in writing outside of novels.

Overall: A thorough and eye-opening course into storytelling traditions and writing to engage audiences. With over 4 hours of content and plenty of great advice, this is easily one of the best courses I’ve ever taken.

-> Click here to view Salman Rushdie's MasterClass

Here’s what the Salman Rushdie MasterClass review will cover:

  • About Salman Rushdie and MasterClass
  • A sneak peek of what’s inside
  • Pros and cons
  • Who it’s for
  • How much it costs
  • Is there anything better?
  • What others thought of the course
  • How unique the content is
  • Final verdict: is it worth it?

So, let’s get started:

About Salman Rushdie

If you’re here, you likely have some idea of who Rushdie is and what he’s known for. With that in mind, I’ll spare you the biography and sum up some key career points:

  • After reaching fame with his 1981 novel, Midnight’s Children, Rushdie quickly became a household name and even reached notoriety after the controversial, The Satanic Verses
  • He won the Booker Prize for his second novel in 1981 and was voted the 13th Best Writer (post-1945) by The Times in 2008
  • Best known for his writing on post-colonialism, Rushdie was awarded the Hutch Crossword Book Award in 2015 with Shalimar the Clown. He was also Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in 2011

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out his MasterClass trailer:

About Masterclass

Founded in 2015, MasterClass has quickly become a force to be reckoned with on the e-learning scene.

Unlike other courses, MasterClass has the benefit of celebrity teachers — all of whom are experts in their fields.

Classes include cooking by Gordon Ramsay, writing with Neil Gaiman, scientific thinking with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and music with Hans Zimmer.

It’s worth noting, however, that MasterClass isn’t for everyone.

So, I’m here to weigh up the pros and cons of Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass to help you decide whether it’s for you.

An inside look into Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass

Salman Rushdie teaches storytelling and writing

Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass is 4 hours, 17 minutes long, and consists of 19 video lessons.

Along with this, there’s an 18-page Workbook with Rushdie’s career history, 14 must-read books, and writing exercises.

To give you a better idea of what you’ll take away from the course, here are my highlights from each lesson:

Lesson 1: Meet Your Instructor

Most writers are born out of readers

In his opening lesson, Rushdie sets down storytelling’s significance to humans. He also reflects upon his 20 published books and explains his “international perspective” on the world.

The section covers his aims to:

  • Share how culture has influenced his writing
  • Give you writing shortcuts he’d wished he’d received
  • Let you in on how his writing differs from others’
  • Provide signposts for how you can make the writing journey

As Rushdie admits, he’s never discussed his work on such a large scale before. This makes the course a very unique (and exciting) venture for anyone interested in Rushdie’s work.

Lesson 2: Determine How to Tell Your Story

If people are happy, there’s no story

In this chapter, Rushdie shares his views on humans’ relationships to storytelling. He also suggests how and why people can read literature for pleasure.

From this starting point, Rushdie teaches you:

  • Six essential questions you should ask yourself when writing
  • How story relates to the book as a whole
  • Ways in which writers approach their work
  • How to think of story in musical terms
  • Methods for forming your story’s shape

Using the “engine” metaphor, Rushdie teaches you how the story fits into your book and what needs to take place for it to be there. As he states, there are certain rules you must follow in order for your story to work.

Salman Rushdie talking about storytelling

Rushdie frames this lesson with six key questions you should ask yourself when writing. This, he says, is the best way to determine the strength of your ideas. Parting with some examples from great literature, he delves into:

Lesson 3: Fleshing Out Your Story’s Structure

Set yourself the shape and then stick to it

In this section, Rushdie introduces you to story and plot. He gives an example of plot-building from his second novel Midnight’s Children, and uses this as his lesson frame.

Considering the 3-act structure, Rushdie teaches you how to:

  • Figure out what kind of writer you are
  • Start and structure your novel
  • Reconsider your approach to structure
  • Connect your characters according to scale
  • Use mirroring devices to help the reader

Unlike other writers I’d heard from, Rushdie also gives due attention to the “false starts” writers experience when writing a first draft.

Putting this into a wider context, he advises you on how you can cope with these difficulties and how to know when you’ve got your opening “right.”

Reflecting on his work notes for The Satanic Verses, Rushdie shows you what he was trying to achieve in his opening and his process for getting there.

An example from Salman Rushdie's MasterClass

What I liked most about this section was that Rushdie addressed the pressure of not being able to start writing.

While many writers’ advice follow the lines of “just start,” Rushdie provides a far more helpful method for getting through this stage. He also gives some practical tips on how to know when your story’s where it should be.

Lesson 4: Opening Lines with Power

Very early in the book you need to make a contract with the reader

Here, Rushdie hones in on the specifics of opening lines. Giving examples from his own work, as well as from classic literature, Rushdie points you to the power of the opening sentence and what makes it so impactful.

As he relates, an opening line should achieve several things and also form a contract with the reader. Rushdie explains why the opening is so important and tells you its implications for the story as a whole.

Salman Rushdie teaching writing

In this section, you’ll learn what to do (and what not to do) to make your opening strong. You’ll also learn the significance of openings for your reader and how to make the most of practice exercises.

For me, the highlight of this lesson was Rushdie’s reading and analysis of his opening for Midnight’s Children. Citing it as the time he became a writer, Rushdie unpicks his opening to show you how it drives the story.

Importantly, too, is the cultural influence of storytelling, taking you on to:

Lesson 5: Drawing from Storytelling Traditions

These narratives have endured for thousands of years, and they haven’t endured by accident

Having asserted your need for powerful openings, Rushdie considers the influence of ancient myths and narratives on his writing. 

Salman Rushdie on storytelling

By the end of this lesson, you’ll learn:

  • How myths across cultures can influence modern stories
  • What makes certain narrative endure across time
  • How stories travel and evolve throughout cultures
  • What all good stories have in common

In this section, Rushdie teaches you how to mine traditional narratives for valuable techniques. He also considers oral storytelling and how you can reproduce this in your writing.

All in all, this was an insightful chapter into how storytelling has changed through time. This is an important way of seeing what endures and for learning to incorporate these techniques into your own writing.

Lesson 6: Conceiving Characters

What happens when a character comes to life is he or she begins to take on characteristics of their own

With further reference to traditional stories, Rushdie traces the evolution of character conception through to the present day.

He explains how characters relate to each other in mythical narratives and asserts his belief that character does not shape destiny.

He introduces you to some new strategies for thinking about character, including what starting points might be helpful. As well as this, Rushdie teaches you how to:

  • Recognize what makes a compelling character
  • Be able to write about people unlike yourself
  • Use reportage to build believable characters
  • Strike a balance between research and invention
  • Make your characters as physically real as you can

This section focuses on how you can write about characters who are both like and unlike yourself. For example, how do you research writing for a character who was alive in the 1930s? Or one who is a different gender/race/nationality to your own?

Rushdie grapples with these questions and teaches you how to use research and imagination to your advantage — especially when writing about someone or something outside of your experience.

Lesson 7: Bringing Characters to Life

Salman Rushdie on character

You want to feel that Anna Karenina is a real person, not just Tolstoy talking through her

In this lesson, Rushdie teaches you:

  • How to think about and listen to your characters
  • Methods for creating strong characters
  • How to better understand your character
  • What you need to know about your character
  • How to work your way to your character’s interior

As Rushdie suggests, you need to make your characters as exact in order to make them believable. In this section, he shares some actionable tips on how you can flesh out your characters to make them as real as possible.

What I liked most about this lesson was that Rushdie’s tips were completely practical. He gives you plenty of questions to consider when crafting your character, and you could easily form a character template from his notes!

Following this vein of character development, Rushdie moves ahead to:

Lesson 8: Revealing Character

You need to come up with some aspect of your character that is idiosyncratic

In this chapter, Rushdie focuses on how you can make your character unique and intriguing to your reader. He also specifies how you can choose a narrator and play with point of view.

Salman Rushdie on writing

In reference to narration in classic literature, Rushdie gives you these key takeaways:

  • The 3 ways of revealing character
  • How to play with narrative point of view
  • What different types of narration can achieve
  • How to choose the best narration for your story

With these points established, Rushdie also shares some effective ways of using dialogue in your story. As he puts it, writing dialogue and being able to distinguish between characters is a craft skill that you can (and should) get better at.

What I liked most about this lesson was Rushdie’s attention to speech as a means of revealing character. He even gives you an exercise to help you improve writing speech in this way.

Lastly, Rushdie leaves you with some food for thought on how to make your character distinct through voice, and even shares some problems he’s encountered when trying to create idiolects.

From here, Rushdie takes you on to consider another kind of character:

Lesson 9: Setting as a Character

For me, the place comes first. Always

In this chapter, Rushdie shares his tips on how to bring a setting to life. Likening it to a character in itself, he teaches you how to avoid cliches when writing about places.

Salman Rushdie in his MasterClass

So, in this lesson, you’ll learn how to:

  • Treat place as its own character
  • Set a relationship between time and place
  • Make your setting realistic and accurate
  • Choose the best setting for your story
  • Tell a story through place

This lesson focuses largely on how you can make your setting more evocative for your reader. Rushdie shares his tricks for making a setting really come to life without the need for excessive description.

Like in most other lessons, he sets you a writing task in this section to help you exercise your abilities in setting-creation. In fact, he even tells you what you’re not allowed to do in this practice. This, he says, is a way of forcing yourself to write better and more engaging settings.

Lesson 10: Your Unmistakably Unique Worldview

The great gamble of literature is that you do it by yourself and then you give it to the world. And you hope that the world will like it

In this section, Rushdie attends to the question of world views and people’s unique perspectives on what they see. He suggests why we need to frame the world in certain ways, and offers some techniques on how to become a better observer.

Using great art as a framework for this chapter, Rushdie teaches you how to:

  • Notice parts of the world that are often skimmed over
  • Examine your own life in order to write truthfully
  • Train your eyes and ears to see the world in a new way
  • Increase your knowledge and worldly experiences

Unlike earlier sections, I found this chapter far more vague in its strategies. Rushdie advises you on where to look in order to notice what most people would ignore, but it doesn’t get more concrete than that.

Salman Rushdie teaching his MasterClass

While this section was a helpful way of framing my thinking, it was probably the most abstract and “unteachable” lesson.

Compared to his tactile writing tips, the advice in this section seemed to be mostly about training your eye through experience. Rushdie doesn’t lay down any hidden trick for observing the world better — it just comes with time and attention.

Lesson 11: Observing the World

If you set yourself the task of noticing, you’ll be amazed by how much you notice

Similarly, this lesson focuses on how to tune in to the world around you in order to notice more. Rushdie offers some further tidbits on how you can train your eyes and ears to better observe.

This section, too, was far less concrete than his other lessons, and you could only take the advice so far on its own. So, Rushdie encourages you to embark on certain walks and trips in order to try his techniques out for yourself.

Salman Rushdie on observing the world

The impression I got from this section was that its teachings could only really be learned by going out and doing it.

Lesson 12: Developing Your Narrative Style

What you should do with any piece of writing is to make the style decisions

Returning to narrative, Rushdie teaches you the importance of narrative rhythm, as well as understanding the difference between style and voice.

With this as his starting point, this lesson teaches you:

  • What style is and what it does for your work
  • How to develop a distinct writing style
  • What you should know about language’s rules
  • How to tell your story most effectively

For me, the key takeaway from this lesson was Rushdie’s attention to rhythm when writing narrative. This was fairly new to me, as, apart from the influence of poetry, most writing courses had avoided the importance of speech rhythms in telling a good story.

This takes you on to what Rushdie believes to be one of the most powerful genres for telling a story:

Lesson 13: Building a Surrealist Story

There are many ways to tell the truth

In this lesson, Rushdie centres on surrealism and his take on the genre. As he philosophizes, surrealism is what characterizes most of his books — not magic realism. 

This section teaches you what surrealist techniques can achieve and what such stories must include to be taken seriously. 

Rushdie provides some great insight into what surrealism is and what it does for your story. All in all, he links it to what novels have been trying to do since the 19th century, and what makes it so effective.

If you’re interested in surrealism, you’ll likely find this lesson insightful. Rushdie does an impressive job of distilling complex theory so you can better understand how the genre works.

Reading excerpts from those considered masters in the surrealist/magic realist genres, Rushdie concludes with his own case study (Midnight’s Children). Rushdie verbalises his thought process in regards to how he used surrealism for effect.

Reflecting on his earlier mentioned “reader-writer contract,” Rushdie also advises you on how you can write surrealism with believability and invest your audiences from the start.

Lesson 14: Researching the Novel

Salman Rushdie talking about research in his MasterClass

The more you learn, the more that will be at your fingertips to use

In this section, Rushdie relates the importance of researching for your novel — especially when writing historical fiction.

That being said, this lesson covers:

  • What you should look out for in your research
  • How to approach research from general to specific
  • Tips for making the past accessible to your readers
  • How to find your unique entrypoint to the past

While this lesson fixes on historical fiction and its obstacles, it’s equally applicable to writing contemporary works.

You’ll also learn what Rushdie sees as the best sources for research. He even shares some key reference points that helped him research for his novels!

Lesson 15: All Writing is Rewriting

The hardest thing of all is to make something out of nothing

Directing you to the editing phase, Rushdie teaches you how to rethink your writing as re-writing. 

You’ll learn:

  • What Rushdie’s theory on editing can do for your work
  • The 2 most important things you should look at in your drafts
  • How to read your writing objectively and critically
  • What you need to be alert to when considering the story

In this chapter, you get to hear Rushdie’s approach to his own rewriting. In particular, he shares his analogy of the “spider’s web” and how this helps him retain information.

As he sees it, all writing and rewriting. So, you need to develop strong habits when it comes to approaching your rewrites. He shares his own preferences when it comes to forming drafts, and tells you the reasons why he does it this way.

Overall, I found Rushdie’s philosophy on rewrites a practical way of making it to the end of a novel. You’ll learn how Rushdie motivates himself to continue, and how he distances himself from his writing in order to make the best edits.

At a certain point, however, you have to let the work go to someone else. This takes you on to:

Lesson 16: Editing and Feedback: The Confidence to Share

You must overcome your doubt

In this section, Rushdie teaches you his tips for overcoming anxiety about sharing your work. As he puts it, this anxiety is a test to establish where you’re at in the editing process.

So, using his guiding principles, Rushdie teaches you how to:

  • Tell when your work is ready to be shared
  • Understand how he likes to write (and how writers differ)
  • Choose the right people to share your work with
  • Work strongly and assertively with editors and agents

What I liked most about this lesson was Rushdie sharing his vulnerability as a writer. As most people can relate, it’s hard to not feel like your work is rubbish. And Rushdie makes no secret of these feelings.

So, instead of discouraging these thoughts, Rushdie shows you how you can use them to better understand where you are in the writing process. Ultimately, your emotions reveal how far along you are to completing a final draft.

This was helpful advice for those who are uncertain about when their work is “there.”

Lesson 17: Develop Your Relationship with Writing

Salman Rushdie teaching writing and storytelling

If you want it to come easily, you’re probably in the wrong line of work

With reference to understanding what writing really is, Rushdie teaches you how to work through your doubts so you can become the best writer you can be. 

As he admits, writing is not for everyone, and you have to have real determination in order to succeed. Admitting that it took him more than a decade to find himself as a writer, Rushdie teaches you:

  • The hardest part about starting as a writer (and how to overcome it)
  • How to redefine writers’ block in positive terms
  • Exercises for finding new ideas for your story
  • How to re-approach writing after your first book

In conclusion, Rushdie shares his experience writing Shalimar the Clown. Namely, this was a work that evolved out of writers’ block. And so, Rushdie advises you on the ways in which you can discover story through apparent blocks.

Lesson 18: Salman’s Global Canon

A picture of Salman Rushdie in his MasterClass

Find the riches in other cultures

In this section, Rushdie proposes we consider a new global canon to replace the “great classics.” Rushdie’s focus here is to teach you how to appreciate literature from across cultures and recognize what the West excludes.

With this in mind, this lesson covers:

  • Rushdie’s argument for making a new global canon
  • How to teach yourself skills from global literature
  • The importance of reading in your own way
  • Examples of outstanding and influential foreign literature

Although this section is less focused on teaching you practical skills, Rushdie does posit ways in which you can be open to other types of literature and therefore increase your literary knowledge.

This harks back to his earlier point that “most writers are born out of readers.” And, this takes you on to Rushdie’s parting lesson:

Lesson 19: Seven Useful Tips for Writers

Whatever you write, it should be deeply necessary for you to write it

In his final chapter, Rushdie sums up 7 useful tips you might use in your writing. He gives some exact advice on:

  • How to find out what type of writer you are
  • Examples of great writers and how they work
  • What you should ask yourself to determine your style
  • How to know when you’ve settled on a story that the world needs

In this lesson, Rushdie takes you through the thought processes you should go through to determine your story’s quality. He also considers how different types of writers work, and how you can find your unique style.

My key takeaway from this section was on the types of writing the world needs more of. Rushdie’s unapologetic in admitting the kinds of stories that are overused and instead makes clear your need to write from a place of great necessity.

Nonetheless, I found his parting advice highly actionable. You’re left with plenty of notes on how you can determine and improve your writing style, as well as exercises and readings to send you on your way.

What I liked about the Salman Rushdie MasterClass

Learn from a renowned author

A copy of a Salman Rushdie book

Of all the writing instructors on MasterClass so far, most would agree that Salman Rushdie is the most impressive. Reaching critical success in the early 1980s, Rushdie’s become a household name amongst readers and university students.

This MasterClass gives you an unrivalled opportunity to learn from one of the most influential and important writers of this generation. His unique point of view as a British-Indian writer is also a refreshing change from more generic courses.

Great examples and additional resources

One of the best takeaways from this course are the examples and resources Rushdie gives you. Without a doubt, every lesson is backed up by concrete readings, and the class as a whole is full with writing exercises for you to try at home.

I came away with plenty of notes and sources that would take me well beyond the class itself. To me, this is a sign of a great class as it acts as a springboard to send you on your way to independent study.

Practical exercises you can use at home

Similarly, the practice exercises are invaluable in giving you a more active role in your learning. While some dismiss online classes for being too impersonal and passive, Rushdie leaves you with a great deal of work to take on for yourself.

In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to learn — especially as MasterClass is keen to cater to so many different types of learners. 

Unique and international point of view

As mentioned, Rushdie has a unique vantage point as an international author, having lived in Britain, India, and America.

Because of this, you learn so much more than you would from a generic writing course. And, you learn from a perspective you might not have otherwise considered.

If you opt for the all-access pass, you get to hear from even more perspectives, and I think this gives you a more well-rounded learning experience.

What I think could be improved

Less attention to research early on

Although Rushdie addresses research further into his course, I felt this could’ve come a little earlier on to better follow the class’s logic.

Some of his lessons on narrative and character would have benefitted from a research “companion” and I found the research section a little detached as a result.

In fact, as a writer who’s known for taking huge cultural inspiration from ancient texts, I feel we could’ve gotten more from the course if the research side was introduced a little earlier.

No reference list in Workbook

On the one hand, the Workbook is great for sharing some of Rushdie’s all-time favorite texts. In particular, it outlines Rushdie’s 14 top surrealist texts — which is a great complement to the surrealism chapter.

On the other hand, this barely scratches the surface of Rushdie’s references. Almost every lesson includes literary examples that extend beyond his own work.

And, because of Rushdie’s emphasis on the importance of reading, I felt we could’ve got a lot more out of the Workbook than 14 surrealist works!

Fast-paced and hard to take notes

Overall, this is probably a benefit of the course. Rushdie’s videos are full of helpful information and theories — without being too long. That being said, it’s a lot harder to take notes as you go, and, if you do, you risk missing other points.

So, as most students agree, this is a course you should really watch more than once to get its full benefits. Partly, this attests to its great value for money. You’re definitely getting a lot for your buck.

At the same time, this could be bothersome to some users with less time to go back and rewatch each video.

Lecture-based learning rather than workshops

One perk of MasterClass is how varied its content is. As well as learning from famed instructors, you get to sit in on readings, be a fly on the wall in student workshops, and even witness recorded lessons.

In Rushdie’s course, however, the video content is far more static. You learn directly from Rushdie in a style that feels 1-1 rather than seminar-based. This helps give the class a more personal feel, but it can also be tiresome for those who learn best from variety.

Who is this course for?

In my opinion, Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass is best suited to someone who’s:

  • Serious about writing and already an avid reader
  • Interested in telling a story they feel is important
  • A fan of Rushdie’s/keen to write political literature
  • Willing to work until the end of the book and accept the time it takes!

This MasterClass is most suited to someone who has some idea of the kind of story they want to write — especially if it’s political or historical in some way. 

You’re keen to share something important with your readers and are looking to develop writing skills in order to share a story that is both personal and culturally relevant.

How much does the course cost?

MasterClass pricing might’ve changed since this review, so for the latest info, click here.

Currently, MasterClass has three subscription offers. The price for these (per month) are:

  • Individual (1 user): $10
  • Duo (2 users): $15
  • Family (6 users): $20

All are billed annually, which may seem a little pricey at first glance.

That being said, the value for money comes from taking as many courses as possible.

With 200+ courses on MasterClass, you’re bound to find many that interest you. But, even if you find that only 10% of the courses interest you, this still works out at $6 per course.

And, if you join with friends or family, the cost for each course is drastically reduced. Check out our MasterClass review or MasterClass cost articles to see how.

Bearing in mind that these courses are taught by leading experts, the value for money is unbeatable. Elsewhere, you can pay over $100 for a course taught by someone you’ve never heard of, and it would nowhere near match the caliber of teaching on MasterClass.

Besides, MasterClass offers a 30-day refund policy if you’re not happy with your purchase.

You can also purchase MasterClass as a gift.

Alternatives to Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass

Aside from Rushdie’s MasterClass, there are the following writing courses on offer:

Outside of MasterClass, there’s also no shortage of online classes. One example is Udemy’s Storytelling course. While this is a lot cheaper than MasterClass, it’s also shorter and lacks the reputable teaching.

The verdict?

With Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass, you get the chance to learn from one of the greatest storytellers of our time. For me, this more than justifies the price tag.

And remember, with an all-access pass you can take all of the above classes!

Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass: what others have said

My aim here is to present the most fair and balanced review of Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass. So, it’s worth drawing attention to others’ experiences.

While searching through Reddit and similar forums (as well as MasterClass itself), I found mostly positive reviews. That being said, some were skeptical about learning from only one teacher:

The truth is that writing is many things to many people, and no matter how good your teacher is, anywhere from 30-90% of what works for them will not work for you

This seems to be a common concern when it comes to creative courses. Is there really one way to write? And how can you be sure one writer’s way will also work for you?

So, this is a point to consider before committing to the course — especially if you’re going for a single-course purchase. It’s worth checking out other MasterClass trailers to see what really speaks to you.

That being said, Rushdie’s course has received largely positive feedback, with many citing it as the best writing course they’d taken:

This for me was the best writing class of all the ones I have done here and elsewhere. And I have done most writing MasterClass on this website
This is one of the best courses I’ve done, one of the most freeing yet also one of the clearest on real, usable, inspirational advice that rises above the ‘rules’ of craft. He presents in a gentlemanly manner and it’s a pleasure to listen. I’ll be watching the videos again

Overall, most users agreed that this course was informative and interesting to watch. As one user pointed out, Rushdie’s position as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University is likely a selling point compared to writers who don’t also teach.

So, if you’re serious about writing and are keen to learn beyond the basic skills of other courses, Rushdie’s course is worth considering.

How long it took to complete the course 

As one of the longer writing classes on the website, the Salman Rushdie MasterClass can take a while to complete — especially if you’re watching more than once! Clocking in at 4 hours 17 minutes, you could probably spread this course out over a couple of weeks to get the most out of it.

Is the course content unique?

From my experience: yes. Rushdie admits this to be the first time he’s ever talked this extensively about his craft. He even reads some early drafts of unfinished works that he’s never shown anyone until now.

Even if you're familiar with Rushdie’s style from panel discussions and interviews, I don’t think this compares to the depth and intimacy of his MasterClass.

Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’re not only paying to hear from Rushdie. You’re also paying for MasterClass’s high production values and expertly formatted lessons that present everything you need in one place.

For me, this is what sets MasterClass apart from other e-learning sources.

What you will need

Aside from a pen and paper, or a laptop, this course doesn’t require any additional tools. If you want to print the Workbook, the PDF format makes it easy to do so. However, this isn’t necessary and most exercises are given within the videos themselves.

Is the Salman Rushdie MasterClass worth it?

If you’re determined to write a compelling and worthwhile story, and are serious about getting published, this course is likely for you.

In fact, even if you’re keen to write a book with no immediate plans for publishing, I’d still say this course is highly valuable.

What I would say, however, is that if you’re less interested in surrealism or cultural writing, another course might be more suitable for you. Examples include Neil Gaiman’s “The Art of Storytelling” and Judy Blume’s “Writing” course. 

These courses are targeted to a wider audience as they’re far more general and less genre-specific than Rushdie’s class. 


If you liked what you saw in the trailer, and feel you can connect to the lesson content in some way, I’d say this course is more than worth it.

The great thing about MasterClass’s all-access pass is that you can mix and match courses to get the most for your money. So, it’s worth checking out other MasterClasses (in or outside of writing) to see if they’re for you.

Beyond writing, you can learn Art and Creativity from Jeff Koons, Sales and Persuasion from Daniel Pink, and Creativity and Songwriting from St. Vincent.

Also, MasterClass offers refunds within 30 days if you don’t like your course, which reduces your risk of losing money if the course just isn’t for you.

See also: Best writing classes

Frequently asked questions

How much does Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass cost?

A MasterClass all-access-pass costs $120 a year ($10 a month). This gives you access to Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass, alongside 200+ other courses.

How long is the Salman Rushdie MasterClass?

Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass is 4 hours and 17 minutes long and consists of 19 videos.

Can you get Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass for free?

Unfortunately you cannot get the Salman Rushdie MasterClass for free. But MasterClass has a range of purchasing options and offers refunds if you’re not happy.

Can I get a refund if I don’t like the Salman Rushdie MasterClass?

Yes, MasterClass operates a 30 day refund policy if you purchase directly through them. If you purchase through other providers, their returns policy may apply.

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