31 May '14

News Meera Syal deplores Michael Gove's policy to exclude books that inspired her to write

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible inspired her to write. Now the actress and writer's novel Anita and Me has replaced them on some English literature coursesShe is a writer and actress who has received the accolade of having a novel singled out for the new English Literature GCSE syllabus. But Meera Syal's delight at this recognition for her story Anita and Me has been tempered by reports suggesting her success only came about because the education secretary, Michael Gove, wants the school syllabus to cut back on American authors such as Harper Lee and Arthur Miller. Ironically, these are the very authors who inspired Syal to become a novelist as a teenager, she told the Observer.As the daughter of Indian immigrants in Britain in the 1970s, Syal's eyes were opened to the grim reality of racism and to the nature of being an outsider when she read To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee's powerful tale of racism in the American south, and The Crucible, Miller's chilling play about witch hunts. Both works triggered her aspiration to write books that could make people "see life differently", she said. Continue reading...

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