Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2022

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Sathnam Sanghera


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HE COULDN’T speak English when he started school but Sathnam Sanghera certainly caught up fast in life.

Born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands in 1976, he went on to get a first class degree in English language and literature at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and became a columnist for The Times in 2007. He has written a clutch of highly acclaimed books and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2016.

His latest smash hit, Empireland, published in 2021, is a non-fiction work that explores what it means to be British in 21st century multicultural Britain. The Sunday Times bestseller has recently been shortlisted for the UK’s Parliamentary Book Awards under the category of – Political Book by a Non-Parliamentarian. The work, published by Penguin Random House/Viking, is due for US publication in 2022 by Pantheon.

In the book, Sanghera argues that much of what we consider to be modern Britain is actually rooted in our imperial past – a past that is frequently hidden from view but which he argues should be brought more into the open. “Our history of empire explains so much about us – our politics, our psychology, our sense of exceptionalism, our wealth (to a certain degree) and, of course, our multiculturalism. The reason we are a multicultural society is because we had a multicultural empire,” he said.

His other highly acknowledged work includes The Boy with the Topknot, which was made into a film. The book is a moving account of a second generation Indian man growing up in Britain. Besides, his novel Marriage Material was adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti. While working on these projects, Sanghera has always made waves with journalism and broadcasting. For eight years, he wrote for The Financial Times

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