[Salman Rushdie](https://www.masterclass.com/classes/salman-rushdie-teaches-storytelling-and-writing) is the author of 14 novels, including *Midnight’s Children*, which won the Booker Prize in 1981 and the prestigious Best of the Booker prize in 2008. His fiction often utilizes [magical realism](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-magical-realism) and satire as commentary on religious turmoil, colonialist superstructures, immigrant life, and the divides between the East and the West. \n\nA prolific writer with celebrity status, Salman Rushdie has also been the subject of much controversy. His fourth novel, *The Satanic Verses*, provoked protest from Muslims in multiple Islamic countries. In 1989, the supreme leader of Iran issued a fatwā on Salman Rushdie’s life, causing the British government to put Salman under police protection. Salman Rushdie is now outspoken regarding the importance of free speech for all human beings.\n\nPublications such as *The Times*, *The New Yorker*, *The Guardian*, and *The New York Times* have reviewed Salman Rushdie’s fiction and non-fiction books, which have received many honors and awards. For his contributions to literature, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in June 2007. He currently resides in New York.\nSalman Rushdie was born in Bombay, India, in 1947—the year India officially won independence from British colonial rule—to a Muslim minority family. He attended boarding school in England, briefly relocated to Pakistan, then moved back to London. Before breaking out as a novelist, Salman wrote advertising copy in London while simultaneously working on his first novel.\n\n- __Start as a published novelist__: In 1975, his first novel, *Grimus*, was published. The debut received little acclaim, but in 1980, Salman’s *Midnight’s Children* won the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction. The book explored India’s independence and identity through parable, unpacking uncomfortable truths and contradictions of sacred texts and religious figures through [satire](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-satire-how-to-use-satire-in-literature-pop-culture-and-politics-plus-tips-on-using-satire-in-writing). This technique would become a staple in Salman’s novels and other works.\n- __The Rushdie Affair__: In 1988, Iranian government leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a death sentence against Rushdie for writing *The Satanic Verses* novel, which was partly inspired by the life of Muhammad. The controversy was known as the Rushdie Affair. \n- __A string of ambitious novels__: Beginning in the 1990s, Salman published several novels, including *The Moor’s Last Sigh*, a time-bending tale framed around the spice trade; *The Ground Beneath Her Feet*, which reimagined the Orpheus myth as a twentieth-century rock ’n’ roll love triangle; and *Shalimar the Clown*, which was adapted into an opera.\n- __Cultural impact__: By the mid-2000s, Salman Rushdie had become an international pop culture icon and the recipient of dozens of awards and honors, including a fellowship with the Royal Society of Literature—the UK's senior literary organization. He was also the president of American PEN, then known as the PEN American Center, and he founded the PEN World Voices Festival.\nSalman Rushdie is known for his incisive use of magical realism in his novels to highlight cultural and political issues. He has written more than a dozen books, including the following: \n\n1. __*Grimus* (1975)__: A work of science fiction in which an immortal man makes a mythological journey to regain the gift of mortality. \n2. __*Midnight’s Children* (1981)__: A novel that charts the trials, tribulations, and magical powers of a group of children born in 1947, at the precise moment India became independent from Britain. Filmmaker Deepa Mehta directed the movie adaptation. \n3. __*Shame* (1983)__: An allegorical commentary on Pakistani society that chronicles two families and their patriarchs—one infatuated with war, the other obsessed with pleasure.\n4. __*The Satanic Verses* (1988)__: An epic tale of two men whose lives take on mythological qualities after enduring a surreal terrorist attack.\n5. __*The Moor’s Last Sigh* (1995)__: The story of a spice trader, who ages twice as fast as normal humans, and his relationships with the women in his life.\n6. __*The Ground Beneath Her Feet* (1999)__: A retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice that simultaneously examines the history of rock ’n’ roll.\n7. __*Fury* (2001)__: A Brit of Indian descent abandons his family and flees to New York in a black comedy that dissects the corrupting effects of anger, wealth, and globalization.\n8. __*Shalimar the Clown* (2005)__: A twisted tale of love and geopolitics centering on a prominent American counterterrorism official and his Muslim killer.\n9. __*The Enchantress of Florence* (2008)__: A work of historical fiction that ebbs in and out of fantasy as it moves back and forth from Italy to India.\n10. __*Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights* (2015)__: Centered on a family of jinns (genies), this phantasmagoric tale features Ibn Rushd, a famous Islamic philosopher.\n11. __*The Golden House* (2017)__: A contemporary realist parable that chronicles a wealthy and strange Manhattan family, this story nods at the real-life drama unfolding in the United States as Donald Trump rises to power.\n12. __*Quichotte* (2019)__: Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s novel *Don Quixote*, the metafictional plot of *Quichotte* involves an Indian American man and a celebrity television host.\nSalman Rushdie has also written books for children, short stories, and collections of speeches.\n\n- __*Haroun and the Sea of Stories* (1990)__: A tale for children that starts in an ancient city, this novel is an allegory for societal problems the world faces today, especially in the Indian subcontinent.\n- __*East, West* (1994)__: A collection of short stories that explores various East-meets-West culture clashes Rushdie has navigated in real life.\n- __*The Jaguar Smile* (1987)__: A novelized account of Rushdie’s trip to Nicaragua following the international controversy between the Sandinistas and various world powers.\n- __*Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism* (1992)__: These essays, written between 1981 and 1992, cover many controversial topics, including politics and migration.\n- __*Step Across This Line* (2002)__: Written between 1992 and 2002, this collection of essays, speeches, and opinion pieces focuses on Rushdie’s period of hiding in the wake of The Satanic Verses controversy.\n- __*Luka and the Fire of Life* (2010)__: This children’s story about a young protagonist named Luka was published by Random House as a sequel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories.\n- __*Joseph Anton* (2012)__: This memoir chronicles the full story of the fallout from The Satanic Verses controversy.\n- __*Languages of Truth: Essays* *2003-2020* (2021)__: Touching on several topics, this book looks at language—through the work of Toni Morrison, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and more—as well as censorship, multiculturalism, and migration.\nBecome a better writer with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com). Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by the world’s best, including Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Walter Mosley, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Dan Brown, and more.\nSalman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist who combines magical realism with historical fiction in his works, many of which are set in India.