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About SOAS

Ms Meera Syal, CBE

Meera Syal MBE

Meera Syal is a British comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist, producer and actor.

Ms Syal was born in Wolverhampton after her parents emigrated from New Delhi in 1961. She read English and Drama at the University of Manchester, gaining a double first.

After graduation she took her one-woman-show ‘One of us’ to the Edinburgh Fringe where she was spotted by a director at the Royal Court.

Ms Meera Syal MBE, Honorary Doctorate, 2013 Graduation

As an actor her roles have ranged from Beatrice in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and Shirley in Willy Russell’s ‘Shirley Valentine’ to the ground breaking sketch show ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and Granny Kumar in ‘The Kumars at Number 42’. She is most known amongst the under twelves for her roles in ‘Dr Who’ and ‘Horrible Histories’.

Ms Syal’s screenplays include the award winning ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ (1993) and ‘My Sister Wife’ (1992).

Her two novels Anita and Me (1997) and Life isn’t all Ha Ha Hee Hee (2000) are both on the national schools recommended authors list and she is currently working on her third novel.

Her awards include the Guardian Whitbread First Novel award, Women in Film and Television’s Creative Achievement Award, two British Comedy Awards, two International Emmy Awards and a BAFTA nomination for her role as Granny Kumar.

Ms Syal was Visiting Professor of Theatre at Oxford University 2011-2012. She was appointed Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to the arts in 1998 and in 2015 was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to drama and literature.