Monday 20 February 2017

One Day Without Us

My family is originally from the Middle East.  I came to Britain at the age of 2.  I don't remember living anywhere else, and I've been a British citizen for a long time – but I will always be a migrant, and if I have children, they will be second-generation migrants.

If you look carefully, you'll see that my books all tend to be about migrants.  In Varjak Paw, Varjak's family came from Mesopotamia; in Phoenix, Bixa's family are refugees from a war.  I wrote more about my background and how it shaped my writing in this Guardian article.

Today, February 20 2017, One Day Without Us asks us to celebrate contributions made to the UK by migrants and people descended from migrants.  So today, I'd like to celebrate British children's writers and illustrators who came from migrant backgrounds.  It's an incomplete list – but look how many wonderful books it includes.  How different would British childhood be without their contributions?

Roald Dahl (1916-1990)

Judith Kerr (born 1923)

Eva Ibbotson (1925-2010)

Jan Pieńkowski (born 1936)

Jamila Gavin (born 1941)

Michael Rosen (born 1946)

Floella Benjamin (born 1949)

John Agard (born 1949)

Grace Nichols (born 1950)

Francesca Simon (born 1955)

Meg Rosoff (born 1956)

Axel Scheffler (born 1957)

Jonathan Meres (born 1958)

Benjamin Zephaniah (born 1958)

Malorie Blackman (born 1962)

Catherine Johnson (born 1962)

Candy Gourlay (born 1962)

Alex Wheatle (born 1963)

Sita Brahmachari (born 1966)

SF Said (born 1967)

Patrice Lawrence
 (born 1967)

Sara Fanelli (born 1969)

GR Gemin

Sarwat Chadda

Bali Rai (born 1971)

Patrick Ness (born 1971)

Sarah McIntyre (born 1975)

Na'ima B. Robert (born 1977)

Robin Stevens (born 1988)

Joseph Coelho

Kiran Millwood Hargrave (born 1990)

Taran Matharu (born 1990)

Muhammad Khan


ROSHAUN Y6 said...


Emmalid y6 said...

How old were you when you got into reading?

Nikola Y6 said...

What did your friends and family think of Varjak paw ?

bethany said...

Mr SF SAID thank you for posting a photo of me on the website and thank you for coming to our school hope you have a lovey x mas

SF Said said...

Dear Roshaun Y6,

Thank you so much for your comment - it's always a pleasure to meet great young readers like yourself!

With best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Dear Emmalid y6,

I can't really remember not reading! One of my first memories is of reading The Cat In The Hat when I was about 3. Here's a blog I made about that, and some other books too:

With best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Dear Nikola Y6,

My friends and family had seen how hard it was for me to get a book published, so I think they were just glad for me when Varjak Paw finally came out! Some of them have told me they enjoyed reading it, and that really means a lot to me.

With best wishes,

SF Said said...

Dear Bethany,

Thank you so much - it's a great photo! I really enjoyed visiting your school, and meeting you all. I hope you enjoy reading your books!

With best wishes,