Tez Ilyas announces debut book

Monday 28th September 2020, 11:43am

TEZ Talks. Tez Ilyas. Copyright: BBC.

Publisher Sphere, an imprint of the Little, Brown group, has today announced the debut book from stand-up comedian Tez Ilyas.

The Secret Diary Of A British Muslim Aged 13¾ is due to be published on 8th April 2021, coinciding with the comedian's 38th birthday, and just before the start of Ramadan.

Hardbook, eBook and audiobook formats will be published.

Sphere explains: "In Tez's suitably dramatic rollercoaster of a teenage memoir, he takes us back to where it all began: a working class, insular British Asian Muslim community in his hometown of post-Thatcher Blackburn. Running away from shotgun-wielding farmers, successfully dodging arranged marriages and having front row seats to race riots, you could say life was fairly run of the mill. But with a GCSE pass rate of 30% at his school, his own fair share of family tragedy around the corner and 9/11 on the horizon, Tez's experiences of growing up as a British Muslim wasn't the fun, Jihad-pursuing affair the media wants you to believe. Well, at least not always.

"At times shalwar-wettingly hilarious and at others searingly sad, The Secret Diary Of A British Muslim Aged 13¾ shows 90s Britain at its best, and its worst."

Emily Barrett, editorial director at the publisher, says: "Tez manages to deliver breathtakingly razor-sharp and yet utterly laidback comedy, and that style and sense of purpose is what makes this book both hilarious and important. There are very few books about the British Muslim experience - and even less about what it was like to come of age at a time of intense prejudice against the Muslim community. I'm so thrilled Tez is redressing that balance and that Little, Brown is the lucky publisher to help him do that. This is a book for people who want to remember their own misspent youths, for anyone who likes laughing, for everyone who wants to further their understanding of racism in the UK, and for Tez's loyal fan group, his Tezbians - which you'll definitely become a part of once you've read the book, if you're not already."

Tez Ilyas says: "I can't believe that little old me, from a school that had a GCSE pass rate of 30%, has been given the chance to write a book. I genuinely cannot wait for people (especially my fans) to read it. I really wanted to write this book to give people a trip down memory lane and to give a snapshot of what life was like as a young British Asian Muslim in 90s Britain. So much (too much?) has been said and written about us, I think it's time you heard from us?"

Ilyas is due to tour the UK with his next stand-up show, Tez Ilyas: Populist, in autumn 2021.

In June, Ilyas agreed to leave a post he had only just been voted into on the board of the newly created Live Comedy Association, after admitting to a pattern of "unacceptable behaviour" towards women.


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Tez Ilyas - The Secret Diary Of A British Muslim Aged 13¾

Tez Ilyas - The Secret Diary Of A British Muslim Aged 13¾

The hilarious and pubescent debut book from your favourite British Muslim comedian (that's Tez Ilyas, by the way) is coming to a shop near you. You may know and love Tez from his stand-up comedy, his role as Eight in Man Like Mobeen, his Radio 4 series TEZ Talks, or TV shows such as Mock The Week and The Last Leg. Where you won't know him from is 1997 when he was 13 ¾. (But now you will - because that's what the book is about.)

In this suitably dramatic rollercoaster of a teenage memoir, Tez takes us back to where it all began: a working class, insular British Asian Muslim community in his hometown of post-Thatcher Blackburn. Meet Ammi (Mum), Baji Rosey (the older sister), Shibz (the fashionable cousin), Was (the cool cousin), Shiry (the cleverest cousin) and a community with the most creative nicknames this side of Top Gun.

Running away from shotgun-wielding farmers, successfully dodging arranged marriages, getting mugged, having front row seats to race riots and achieving formative sexual experiences doing stomach crunches in a gym, you could say life was fairly run of the mill. But with a GCSE pass rate of 30% at his school, his own fair share of family tragedy around the corner and 9/11 on the horizon, Tez's experiences of growing up as a British Muslim wasn't the fun, Jihad-pursuing affair the media wants you to believe. Well ... not always.

At times shalwar-wettingly hilarious and at others searingly sad, The Secret Diary Of A British Muslim Aged 13¾ shows 90s Britain at its best, and its worst.

First published: Thursday 8th April 2021

  • Publisher: Sphere
  • Pages: 304
  • Catalogue: 9780751582185

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