Comedian, author, memoirist and broadcaster: Shaparak Khorsandi is a modern day comedy polymath, equally adept at thrilling the crowds at the Palladium and bravura literary storytelling.
As a five year old, Shaparak Khorsandi fled Iran when her father’s popularity as a satirist put their lives at risk. As she says, “obviously there’s free speech in Iran, but little freedom after you’ve spoken.”
Beginning a new life in London as an asylum seeker without a word of English, she has since become one of the country’s brightest and most loved comic performers, travelling to all corners of the globe with her stand-up shows, trudging through muddy to fields to perform at every festival from Glastonbury to Secret Garden Party, and becoming a regular face on TV and radio favourites including QI, Have I Got News For You and Mock the Week.
Alongside her flourishing career as a stand-up Shaparak is also a journalist, memoirist, author and screenwriter. Her latest novel, Kissing Emma, reimagines the life of Emma Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress, for the 21st century. It’s a fable about the rise and fall of a beautiful, but vulnerable, young woman in a world obsessed with money, status and looks.
In conversation with journalist and broadcaster Pandora Sykes, Shaparak will explore her remarkable life and work on stage and screen, and delve into Kissing Emma’s rich themes.