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Shaparak Khorsandi

Comedian and Vice President of Humanists UK

Born in Iran in 1973, Shaparak Khorsandi and her family were forced to flee from Iran to London after the Islamic Revolution. She graduated from the University of Winchester in 1995 with a degree in Drama, Theatre and Television, then moved on to pursue a career in comedy. She performs stand-up and has appeared on many radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s Shappi Talk, on growing up in a multi-cultural family, and Question Time.

Khorsandi’s memoir, A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English, was published by Ebury Press in 2009 and describes her experiences on coming to England as a young girl. Buy it through this link and a small commission will go to Humanists UK. In 2015, she was one of several contributors What is Humanism?,  a new book from Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young aimed at introducing humanism to children.

Shaparak Khorsandi says she is a feminist in much the same way she is an atheist: ‘In neither case is it something I’ve given a lot of thought to; it just comes through upbringing.’ In New Humanist in 2007  she reflected on the glamorous life of an atheist stand-up and the oddity of being praised as ‘very Christian… If you are beige people often can’t accept that you were not raised in religion.’

See also where she talks about exile, OCD, racial abuse and death threats on her family.

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