Sphere acquires teenage memoir from comedian Tez Ilyas

Sphere acquires teenage memoir from comedian Tez Ilyas

Sphere has acquired The Secret Diary of a British Muslim Aged 13¾ from stand-up comedian Tez Ilyas.

Ilyas hosted "The Tez O'Clock Show" on Channel 4 and has starred in BBC Three's "Man Like Mobeen" as well as panel shows such as "Mock the Week". His book is described as a "hilarous" and "razor-sharp", showing 90s Britain at both its best and worst while illuminating on what it was like to come of age at a time of prejudice against the Muslim communinity.

Emily Barrett, editorial director at Sphere, struck the deal, acquiring world rights in the book through Pollyanna McGirr at UTC Artist Management. 

The book's synopis reads: "In Tez’s suitably dramatic roller-coaster 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."

Barrett said: "Tez manages to deliver breaktheakingly 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."

Ilyas said: "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."

The book will publish in hardback, e-book and audio on 8th April 2021– the author's birthday—just before the start of Ramadan.