Born on the 27th of June, 1961, to Punjabi parents Surinder Syal and Surinder Kaur Uppal in Wolverhampton. She was reared in Essington in Staffordshire, however, and it was this environment, as well as Bloxwich, that provided a great deal of the inspiration for some of her stories, especially Anita and Me. She graduated from Manchester University after studying drama and English.
She was successful in university, co-writing the play ‘One of Us’, in which she played all fifteen parts, which one a prize at the Edinburgh International Festival, which gave her the platform to attract the eye of a director from the Royal Court Theatre, who asked her to perform at the Royal Court in a three-year contract.
She went on to write numerous screenplays which were used by comparable numerous directors of fame, such as Gurinder Chadha. Her skills are numerous, ranging from remarkable novel creation, impeccable screenwriting, and even singing.
Anita & Me
Like every nine-year-old girl, Meena can’t wait to grow up and break free from her parents, but as the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington, her daily struggle for independence is different from most. She wants fishfingers and chips, not just chapati and dhal; she wants an English Christmas, not the usual interminable Punjabi festivities – but more than anything, more than mini-skirts and the freedom to watch ‘Opportunity Knocks’, Meena wants to roam the backyards of working-class Tollington with feisty Anita Rutter and her gang.
Written with great warmth and fun and just a hint of wistfulness, ‘Anita and Me’ is a unique vision of a British childhood in the Sixties, a childhood caught between two cultures, each on the brink of change.