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Syal, Meera

anita girl novel midlands

(British, 1962– )

Meera Syal's cultural background is Indian but she was born and brought up in the Midlands. She works as an actress and script-writer as well as writing fiction. Her first novel was Anita and Me (1996). The heroine is the plucky nine-year-old Meena, who lives in the defunct mining village of Tollington in the Midlands in the 1970s. Although of Punjabi descent, her aspirations centre on becoming the friend of Anita Rutter, English, and the roughest girl around. The novel is therefore an exploration of a girl navigating her way through two cultures.

The story is told with great humour and vivid period detail, and succeeds in creating a believable childhood perspective.

Harper Lee, Hanif Kureishi (The Buddha of Suburbia)  SA

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