Anita and Me

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Anita and Me is Meera Syal's debut novel, and was first published in 1996. It is a semi-autobiographical novel which won the Betty Trask Award.

Anita and Me
Anita and Me book cover.jpg
Kindle edition cover
Author Meera Syal
Country United Kingdom
Genre Comedy-Drama
Publisher New Press (UK)
Publication date
April 1st 1997 / June 1st 1999 by New Press
Pages 336 pages Paperback
ISBN 1565845293 (US) / ISBN 9781565845299 (UK)

The story revolves around Meena, a British Punjabi girl (the "me" of the title), and her relationship with her English neighbour Anita as they grow up in the fictional Midlands village of Tollington in the 1970s.[1]

It is used as a GCSE set text for an English literature examination provided by the WJEC and OCR.


Main article: Anita and Me (film)

The novel was made into a film of the same name in 2002, in which Meera Syal appears as Meena's Auntie Shaila. Syal also wrote the screenplay for the film. The film starred Chandeep Uppal and Anna Brewster.

The story follows young Meena Kumar, a girl who would be considered very normal by today's standards, and the life she lives with her parents in Tollington, near Birmingham. One seemingly ordinary day, her life is turned upside down by Anita Rutter, played by Anna Brewster. Meena is a brilliant character, with a wise head on young shoulders but one who retains a childlike exuberance. An aspiring writer, Meena pines for some of the breaks that white children had; upon patronisingly being asked "what do you want to be when you grow up", Meena replies "blonde".

Secondary literature[edit]

  • Rocío G. Davis, "India in Britain: Myths of Childhood in Meera Syal's Anita and Me", in Fernando Galván & Mercedes Bengoechea (ed.), On Writing (and) Race in Contemporary Britain, Universidad de Alcalá 1999, 139-46.
  • Graeme Dunphy, "Meena's Mockingbird: From Harper Lee to Meera Syal", in Neophilologus 88, 2004, 637-59.


External links[edit]