Anita and Me

Anita and Me is Meera Syal's debut novel, and was first published in 1996. It is a semi-autobiographical novel, based on Syal's childhood in the mining village of Essington, Staffordshire, which won the Betty Trask Award.

Anita and Me
Anita and Me book cover.jpg
Kindle edition cover
AuthorMeera Syal
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherNew Press (UK)
Publication date
April 1st 1997 / June 1st 1999 by New Press
Pages336 pages Paperback
ISBN1565845293 (US) / ISBN 9781565845299 (UK)

The story revolves around Meena, a British Punjabi girl (the "me" of the title), and her relationship with her best friend, English neighbour Anita, as they grow up in the fictional Midlands village of Tollington in the late 1960s.[1]

The novel is used as a GCSE set text for an English literature examination provided by examination boards AQA, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC. It is also used by other lower years in British schools.


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

The story follows young Meena Kumar, an everyday girl, 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. Meena is a bright girl, with a wise head on young shoulders, but one who retains a childlike exuberance and naivety. An aspiring writer, Meena pines for some of the breaks that she believes white children have; upon being asked "what do you want to be when you grow up", Meena replies "blonde".

Stage adaptationEdit

The novel was adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where it premiered on 9 October and ran until 24 October 2015. It was followed by a transfer to the Theatre Royal, Stratford East from 29 October to 21 November 2015.[2] Ayesha Dharker reprised her role from the film for the stage version.

In 2017, a theatrical production toured the always deals with the political system of the society


  • 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.


  1. ^ Meera Syal. "Anita and Me by Meera Syal". Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  2. ^ Ltd, Made Media. "Anita And Me at Birmingham Repertory Theatre". Retrieved October 6, 2016.

External linksEdit