novelist, dramatist, screenplaywriter, and actor, born in Wolverhampton. Syal emerged from the famously productive Manchester University Drama Department of the early 1980s, winning a National Student Drama Award for her play, One of Us. During several years at the Royal Court Theatre, she came to prominence as a comic actor and writer with an interest in the experience of south Asian people in modern Britain. She wrote the screenplay for the 1993 film Bhaji on the Beach. Her first novel, Anita and Me (1996), about a Punjabi schoolgirl who rebels against her cultural roots, was followed by Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999). As well as numerous film appearances, Syal is a star and co‐writer (along with her husband, Sanjeev Bhaskar) of the BBC comedy chat show, The Kumars at No. 42.