Saira Shah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Saira Shah
Born (1964-10-05) 5 October 1964 (age 54)
London, UK
OccupationAuthor, reporter and documentary filmmaker
Notable work
Death in Gaza (2004 documentary film)
Partner(s)Scott Goodfellow[1]
Parent(s)Idries Shah, Cynthia (Kashfi) Kabraji
RelativesShah family
AwardsBAFTA Award (2004), Emmy Award (2005)

Saira Shah (born 5 October 1964) is an author, reporter and documentary filmmaker. She produces, writes and narrates current affairs films.

Life and work[edit]

Shah was born in London and raised in Kent, England. She was educated at Bryanston School and read Arabic and Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, graduating in 1986. Her father was Idries Shah, an Afghan writer of books on Sufism. Part of his family was originally from Paghman, Afghanistan. Her mother is half-Parsi and half-English.[1] The author Tahir Shah is her brother[3] and she also has a sister, Tahir's twin, Safia Shah.

Her first trip to Afghanistan was when she was 21 years old. She worked for 3 years in Peshawar as a reporter covering the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She has also worked as a journalist for Channel 4 News, which she left in 2001. She married and divorced (after 5 years) a Swiss reporter, whom she met in Peshawar.

Shah worked with James Miller on several projects including the films Beneath the Veil (2001), Unholy War (2001), both Channel 4 Dispatches films for the UK documentary company Hardcash productions, and Death in Gaza (2004), for their own TV company Frostbite Films. Miller was killed in 2003.[4] In 2004, Shah won a Current Affairs BAFTA Award for Death in Gaza[5] and in 2005 the film won three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming (Single Or Multi-Camera), Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming and Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking (Shah sharing one award as a producer and being a nominee for another as a writer).[6] Shah also appeared on the television programme Breakfast with Frost on 10 August 2003.[7]

Shah currently lives between London and rural France with her partner, journalist and photographer Scott Goodfellow, and their son and daughter Hamish and Rosie Goodfellow. Ailsa Goodfellow, their first daughter, died, suddenly, of a pulmonary embolism early in 2017.[8] Shah said: "Ailsa inspired me to write a novel, The Mouse-Proof Kitchen, based on her life, which was published in 2013. By then Ailsa had become our teacher, demonstrating how to live with courage, patience and joy – and proving that the essence of humanity lies far deeper than mere development."[9] The novel gives a vivid account of how the fictional characters Anna and her husband Tobias deal with their daughter Freya's birth and the experiences which they must undergo before fully appreciating the miracle of her life.


Film companies[edit]

  • Frostbite Productions


  • Shah, Saira (2003), The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland, New York, NY: Anchor Books, ISBN 1-4000-3147-8
  • Shah, Saira (4 April 2013). The Mouseproof Kitchen. London, England: Harvill Secker. ISBN 147670564X.[13]

Newspaper and magazine articles[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Calkin, Jessamy (1 April 2013). "Difficult truths: Saira Shah interview". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  2. ^ Shah, Saira (30 March 2013). "'She began to smile at us' – living with my profoundly disabled child". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  3. ^ Shah, Tahir (12 August 2005). "Letters: Conditions in Pakistan's military jails". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  4. ^ Chris Tryhorn (6 April 2006). "Miller's family push for prosecution". London: Times. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
  5. ^ Staff (2004). "BAFTA Awards, Television – Current Affairs – 2004, Winner". BAFTA. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  6. ^ Staff (2005). "Death in Gaza: 2005". Emmys. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  7. ^ Staff (10 August 2003). "Breakfast with Frost: Culture of duplicity and deceit". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  8. ^ Shah, Saira (2017-02-01). "Ailsa Goodfellow obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  9. ^ Shah, Saira (2017-02-01). "Ailsa Goodfellow obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  10. ^ Beneath the Veil on IMDb
  11. ^ Death in Gaza on IMDb
  12. ^ Unholy War on IMDb
  13. ^ Williams, Charlotte (3 April 2012). "Harvill Secker acquires The Mouse-Proof Kitchen". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2012-09-08.

External links[edit]