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Meera Syal

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Meera Syal

Meera Syal MBE (born June 27 1963) is a English comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist and actress. She was born in Wolverhampton and grew up in Essington, a mining village a few miles to the north. Her Punjabi-born parents came to Britain from New Delhi.

Syal won the National Student Drama Award for writing One of Us while at university in Manchester, the Betty Trask Award for her first book Anita and Me and won the Media Personality of the Year award at the Commission for Racial Equality's annual Race in the Media awards in 2000. She was awarded the MBE in 1997. In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the fifty funniest acts in British comedy.

As a journalist she writes occasionally for The Guardian. She scored a number one record with Gareth Gates and her co-stars from The Kumars at No. 42 with "Spirit In The Sky", the Comic Relief single.

In 2005, Syal married her frequent collaborator, Sanjeev Bhaskar, who plays her grandson in The Kumars at No. 42. She has a daughter, Chameli, from her first marriage to journalist Shekhar Bhatia. which ended in 2002. In 2004, she took part in the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? which looked into the family histories of various well-known personalities. Syal was surprised to discover both her grandfathers had actively campaigned against British rule in India: one was a communist journalist and the other named a Punjab Martyr in the Golden Temple having been imprisoned and tortured after protesting.

Contents

Books

Films (appeared in)

Films (wrote)

Plays

Radio

Television (appeared in)

Television (wrote)

Academic reception

The book Anita and Me has found its way onto school and university English syllabuses both in Britain and abroad. Scholarly literature includes:

  • Rocío G. Davis, "India in Britain: Myths of Childhood in Meera Syal's Anita and Me", in Fernando Galván & Mercedes Bengoechea (ed.), On Writing (and) Race in Contemporary Britain, Universidad de Alcalá 1999, 139-46.
  • Graeme Dunphy, "Meena's Mockingbird: From Harper Lee to Meera Syal", in Neophilologus 88, 2004, 637-59.
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