Comedian, speaker, advocate for human rights and the daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran, Shappi Khorsandi's upbringing has been anything but conventional.
Her family was forced to flee Iran for London after the Islamic Revolution following the publication of a satirical poem perceived as being critical of the revolutionary regime by her father, Hadi Khorsandi; he was attacked as being an "enemy of Islam". Subsequently Shappi was raised without any religion.
It also lead to the publication of her childhood memoirs, “A Beginner’s Guide To Acting English“, her best-selling literary debut, described by the Scotsman as ‘filled with laughter, wonder and compassion’. Emma Thompson said “This very funny, acute book also made me cry”.
Shappi went on to publish her first novel, Nina Is Not Ok, which was described by the Telegraph as ‘moving, funny and shocking’ and received tremendous acclaim from critics and readers alike.
In 2007, Shappi won Best Breakthrough Act at the Chortle Awards. That same year, she took her show 'Carry on Shappi' to the Edinburgh Fringe when she was 8 months pregnant, enticing at least one critic to plead "go and see her before her waters break!"
She was back in early 2008, taking 'Carry on Shappi' to the Soho Theatre in London. Shappi's 2006 show, 'Asylum Speaker' was an Edinburgh sell-out, followed by an extended run at The Soho Theatre. She has gigged internationally in the United States, the Middle East, Singapore, Australia and Amsterdam.
Shappi’s career has taken her to all corners of the globe. She has appeared on countless TV & Radio shows, including: Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, Mock The Week, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, MasterChef, Have I Got News For You, QI, Pointless Celebrities, Question Time and Just a Minute, as well as her own show, Shappi Talk.
She is a sought after cultural commentator appearing on ITV's Sunday Edition, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service & LBC and also in The Guardian, The Independent, Metro and on BBC News website. She was also a panellist on BBC's Question Time. Shappi has presented a series for Open University and is a regular roving reporter for BBC South's Inside Out.
Comedy is a family business for the Khorsandi's. In Los Angeles, Shappi performed in a seven week sell-out run with her brother in a show called 'How to be Iranian' as well as starring in her own one hour show. Other work in America included a month-long tour supporting her father in his extremely popular stand-up show.