Sunjeev Sahota

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Sunjeev Sahota
Born 1981
Derby, United Kingdom
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British

Sunjeev Sahota (born 1981) is a British novelist whose first novel, Ours are the Streets, was published in January 2011 and whose second novel, The Year of the Runaways, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.


Sahota was born in 1981[1] in Derby, and his family moved to Chesterfield when he was seven years old.[2] His paternal grandparents had emigrated to Britain from the Punjab in 1966. After finishing school, Sahota studied mathematics at Imperial College London. As of January 2011, he was working in marketing for the insurance company Aviva.[3]

Sahota had not read a novel until he was 18 years old, when he read Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children while visiting relatives in India before starting university.[3] He bought the book in the airport before flying to India.[4] While he had studied English literature at GCSE level, the course did not require students to read a novel:

We had to do a Shakespeare, and we did Macbeth. We had to do a pre 20th-century text, and we did a play, She Stoops to Conquer. We had to do poetry and we did Yevgeny Yevtushenko. But no novels.[3]

After Midnight's Children, Sahota went on to read The God of Small Things, A Suitable Boy and The Remains of the Day. In an interview in January 2011, he stated:

It was like I was making up for lost time – not that I had to catch up, but it was as though I couldn't quite believe this world of storytelling I had found and I wanted to get as much of it down me as I possibly could.[4]

In 2013 he was included in a Granta list of 20 best young writers, released 20 years after the magazine first published such a list.[5]


Sahota's first novel, Ours are the Streets, was published in January 2011 by Picador. He wrote the book in the evenings and at weekends because of his day job. The novel tells the story of a British Pakistani youth who becomes a suicide bomber.[3] Sahota was prompted to start writing the book by the 7 July 2005 London bombings.[2] According to the Sheffield Telegraph, the book is "being mentioned in literary supplements as one of the novels to look out for in 2011".[2] Ours are the Streets has been reviewed in a number of national newspapers, including The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The Sunday Times.

His second novel, The Year of the Runaways, about the experience of illegal immigrants in Britain, was published in June 2015[6] and has been shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.[7]


  1. ^ "Sunjeev Sahota". Picador. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Terrorist plot in city". Sheffield Telegraph. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kappala-Ramsamy, Gemma; Day, Elizabeth; Skidelsky, William; Carter, Imogen (16 January 2011). "Faces to watch – Britain's cultural debutantes". The Observer. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Ahad, Nick (14 January 2011). "Interview – Sunjeev Sahota: Student of maths makes it all add up". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (15 April 2013). "Granta list celebrates fresh crop of British novelists". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Bose, Mihir (18 June 2015). "The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota, book review: A picture of modern immigration". The Independent. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Pulitzer winner makes Booker Prize shortlist". BBC News. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 

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