10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Salman Rushdie

Oct 9, 2015

Salman Rushdie is a Booker-Award-winning novelist and the prolific author of a number of novels, non-fiction books, children’s books, story collections, and essays. He joined Virginia at the Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about his latest novel, Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.  It’s a fantasy, a fairy tale for grown-ups, and the book, as he told us at the Music Hall, “...may be his weirdest,” adding, “I’m no stranger to weird.”

Credit Sara Plourde

  Before they took to the stage to talk about his new book, magical realism, presidential politics, and more, Virginia spoke with Salman Rushdie in the green room of The Music Hall about his writing process.  It's a behind-the-scenes look at how a renowned author writes, and we're calling it "The 10-Minute Writer's Workshop". Listen in, and don't forget to check out Virginia's full conversation with Rushdie from Writers on a New England Stage

Salman Rushdie and Virginia Prescott in the green room of The Music Hall before Writers on a New England Stage
Credit Sara Plourde

On writing less with age:

"I probably finish as much as I used to, but it goes differently. When I was younger, I used to write a lot more a day but it needed much much more fixing. It would need a lot of re-writing…but now what happens is I write much less in a day, but it feels much closer to finished. So it probably takes me about the same length of time to write a book, it’s just that the process is different."

On young writers:

"I think young writers these days are so trained in that collective act of reading each other’s work and discussing it and producing the work through this kind of workshop process. And I think that’s fine. That’s fine as a learning process. It’s not great, in my view, when you’re actually writing."

On his worst distraction:

 "Baseball…it’s very difficult. If the Yankees make the post season it’s really complicated if you’re finishing a book at the same time, that’s really bad for the book."

On checking the facts:

"There’s a mistake [in my newest book] about the movie Ghostbusters… I say in the novel that Sigourney Weaver is possessed by the supernatural being "Gozer the Gozerian", but she isn’t. She’s possessed by "Zuul", who is the Gatekeeper. You know, it’s just because I didn’t check...because I thought I knew, I didn’t check, and therefore I got it wrong."