Meera Syal, writer and filmmaker, is all set to join the ranks of well-known authors recommended for study for young teenagers.
Syal, 45, figures in a new list of approved authors issued after the latest review of the curriculum for 11 to 14-year-olds in England. The list of writers from "different cultures and traditions" includes for the first time Anita Desai as well.
Syal and Desai, who was nominated for Bookers Prize thrice and whose daughter won it in 2006, are part of recommended authors whose work speaks with an "authentic voice" about other cultures. Other authors in the list are John Agard and Benjamin Zephaniah.
Syal appeared in the BBC comedy Goodness Gracious Me, a satire on Asian manners by Asians, which became an overnight hit and is regarded as one of the best television comedies. Her books include Anita and Me and Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee. Born into an Asian family living in the English midlands, Syal has also written film screenplays including Anita and Me and Bhaji on the Beach. She was given OBE for her contribution to arts and community relations.