Saleem’s life is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirror the course of modern India at its most impossible, in Salman Rushdie’s masterpiece.

Born at midnight on August 15, 1947, at the precise moment of India’s independence, the infant Saleem Sinai is celebrated in the press and welcomed by Prime Minister Nehru himself. But this coincidence of birth has consequences for which Saleem is not prepared: telepathic powers that connect him with 1,000 other ‘midnight’s children’ - all born in the initial hour of India’s independence - and an uncanny sense of smell that allows him to sniff out danger imperceptible to others.

The Booker Prize 1981
Published by
Jonathan Cape
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Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

About the Author

Salman Rushdie has been nominated for the Booker Prize seven times, winning in 1981, and was knighted for services to literature in 2007.
More about Salman Rushdie

Listen to an extract from Midnight's Children

The BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Midnight’s Children stars Preeya Kalidas, Nikesh Patel and more.

Penguin Books UK · Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Audio Extract)
Midnight's Children audiobook cover on a blue background.

What makes it so vertiginously excit­ing a reading experience, is the way it takes in not just the whole apple cart of India and the problem of being a novel about India but also...the business of being a novel at all

Midnight's Children on screen

Salman Rushdie narrated the film adaptation of Midnight’s Children, which was released in 2012.

The Times of India said the film was a love letter to India, and wrote that it ‘moves you with its heart and words, especially when Rushdie murmurs, “Without passport or permit, in a basket of invisibility, I returned - to my India.”’

The film was directed by Deepa Mehta (who also wrote the screenplay with Rushdie) and starred Rajat Kapoor, Shriya Saran, Satya Bhabha, Anita Majumdar, Siddharth and more.

Still from Midnight's Children.

A world was created full of clamour and scent, food smells, flowers and colour. I can still remember the thrill of its magic, the nosebleed turning to rubies on the page.

— Helena Kennedy

What our Facebook Book Club members are saying

‘I would challenge anyone to be able to put the novel down during the birth of Ganesh scene in the chapter titled ‘A Wedding’ near the novel’s end. This is writing that stuns you with its brilliance. After I’d finished the chapter I had a tea break and as I flicked on the kettle, reeling from what I’d just read, I started chuckling to myself as that question from above came thunderingly into my head: how? HOW has he written this book? 

The last 100 pages of this novel are simply beguiling, not often does a novel give you this level of payoff in such a sustained way: we have a birth scene, the destruction of a magicians’ slum with Saleem’s captivity by the state’s ruthless acolytes, and then a dénouement full of glorious humanity.’ 

(Extracted from a posted comment on the Booker Prizes Book Club by Kenneth Williams)

Other nominated books by Salman Rushdie

The Enchantress of Florence
Shalimar the Clown
The Moor's Last Sigh
The Satanic Verses