Sathnam Sanghera was born to Punjabi immigrant parents in Wolverhampton in 1976. He entered the education system unable to speak English but, after attending Wolverhampton Grammar School, graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge with a first class degree in English Language and Literature in 1998. He has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards twice, for his memoir The Boy With The Topknot and his novel Marriage Material, the former being adapted by BBC Drama in 2017 and named Mind Book of the Year in 2009. He has won numerous prizes for his journalism at The Financial Times and The Times, including Young Journalist of the Year in 2002 and Media Commentator of the Year in 2015. He lives in London.
This remarkable book shines the brightest of lights into some of the darkest and most misunderstood corners of our shared history. As urgent as it is illuminating, Sanghera drives a coach and horses through the ludicrous but increasingly popular notion that wanting a proper public understanding of all aspects of British and Imperial history is somehow unpatriotic or 'anti-British'. A quite beautiful writer, with a deep personal investment in the subject matter, his meticulous research and passionate advocacy combine to create an irresistible case for reviewing much of what we think we know about the reality and legacy of the British Empire * James O'Brien * Lucid but never simplistic; entertaining but never frivolous; intensely readable while always mindful of nuance and complexity - Empireland takes a perfectly-judged approach to its contentious but necessary subject -- Jonathan Coe A gracefully written book, but its real beauty lies in its complete absence of dogmatism ... Empireland is not an angry diatribe. It's a sensitive, often uncomfortable commentary on the stubborn influence of empire ... The real remedy is education of the kind that Sanghera has embraced - accepting, not ignoring, the past -- Gerard deGroot * The Times * Sathnam Sanghera's nuanced, witty and evidence-driven book explains how we arrived where we are as a country. It celebrates our triumphs and interrogates our faults. A useful antidote to those pushing culture wars, Empireland should be read with an open mind by all of us educated in this country -- as we have only really ever had a limited perspective of what it means to be British and the impact of the British Empire. I only wish this book has been around when I was at school -- Sadiq Khan In this witty and multi-faceted portrait of our nation, the award-winning journalist and novelist looks with great acuity at how the Empire wrought contemporary Britain * Bookseller * [An] impassioned and deeply personal journey through Britain's imperial past and present ... a moving and stimulating book that deserves to be widely read * The Guardian * Excellent ... he is a good guide to the complexities of the issues ... And he is largely positive about Britain and its future -- Andrew Marr * Sunday Times * A scorching polemic on the afterburn of empire * Financial Times * This account of how much of our island story was written in other countries deserves to be widely read. His decency and talent remind us of how much we owe to all those immigrants from our empire who came to make their lives here and too often (but happily not always) had to face hostility with a racist hue. The racism was frequently sired by our imperial past * The Tablet * This thoroughly engaging and incredibly important book must be read by everyone. The sometimes heartbreaking read is enlightening and transformative. This remarkable work should be included in school curriculum... The informative book will undoubtedly continue to improve the understanding of future generations and perhaps even shape them * Eastern Eye * This book should be on the compulsory reading list of every secondary school in the country, because it explains modern Britain in ways that no other writer can. I think it is an essential element in the essential effort to come to terms, finally, with Britain's colonial past - and move on -- John Simpson In the wake of personal epiphany we glimpse with Sanghera pathways of transformative potential ... a simple but profound response - this searching introspection and a quest for new horizons, combined with a readiness to sit with the contradictions of it all * The Observer * Very well written ... decent, balanced and wise. His decency and talent remind us of how much we owe to all those immigrants from our empire who came to make their lives here -- Chris Patten * The Tablet *