Saira Shah

Continuing our series on Asian women writers, we bring to you, Saira Shah. 
Saira Shah was born on 5 October 1964. She is an author, reporter and documentary filmmaker. She currently lives in London.

Saira 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 Afrian Studies, University of London, graduating in 1986. Her father, was Idries Shah, a Scottish/Afghan writer who was known for writing Sufi fables. Part of his family was originally from Paghman, Afghanistan. Her mother was half-Indian and half-British.
Saira spent majority of her childhood in the UK unaware of her family roots in another country. Her only connection with the country were the stories that her father told. Saira Shah grew up in Britain, but she was always told that she came from somewhere else: a fairytale land of  orchards and gardens, a place where even the water had magical qualities. The country was Afghanistan, the storyteller her father, and the tales were embellished with every telling. 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 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 (filmmaker) on several projects including the films Beneath the Veil(2001), Unholy War (2001) and Death in Gaza (2004). She won a Current Affairs BAFTA for Death in Gaza. She also appeared on the television programme Breakfast with Frost on 10 August 2003.
'The Storyteller's Daughter' is a stunning memoir written by Saira Shah, which was first published in 2003. It is both exotic and heart breaking poignant. It tells the story of a family living in peaceful Afghanistan that had to escape and live in exile in the aftermath of war.

For further reference please visit www.sairashah.com

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