Shappi Khorsandi – Keynote Speaker

Comedian, author, speaker and advocate for human rights

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Specialist Subjects

  • It’s The Way You Tell It: What Does Our Humour Say About Us?
  • Defining Diversity and Embracing Cultural Difference
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • A Woman in a Man’s World: Uncovering Everyday Sexism


  • English


Shaparak Khorsandi established herself as one of the UK’s finest comedians with her sell-out Edinburgh show, Asylum Speaker. Despite the basis for the show being her experiences as a child refugee fleeing Iran and terrorists attempting to murder her father, Shaparak’s sensitive yet witty exploration of these events created an instant comedy smash hit.

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”.
Shaparak 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.

Shaparak’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, Shaparak Talk.

As a keynote speaker and awards host, Shaparak can deftly handle the most serious subjects with a sprinkling of humour – a skill perfected in her early stand-up shows. Drawing on her past experiences as a female comic breaking into a male-dominated industry, Shaparak is a popular speaker on topics surrounding diversity and inclusion and mental health. Her charmingly candid style combined with her sharp-as-a-tack delivery ensure that whether speaking virtually or in-person, she never fails to connect with an audience.

Shaparak Khorsandi has done features for several national publications and has a regular, weekly column in the Independent. She has received an honorary doctorate from Winchester University for her contribution to the arts. Her mother was overjoyed, until she realised Shaparak can’t actually write prescriptions for her.

Shaparak Khorsandi has also received the prestigious James Joyce Award for outstanding success in her field from Dublin University. She has two dogs, two cats and two children so can often be found hiding in the airing cupboard, eating crisps in the dark.

Popular Talks by Shappi Khorsandi

It’s The Way You Tell It: What Does Our Humour Say About Us?

Shaparak explains how, despite what some may think, comedy is not just about telling jokes. It is about taking a risk and displaying a confidence which can help you in every area of your life, and build trust with those around you. Humour is a powerful way to show other people the world as you see it and build rapport with those who, on paper, you may not seem to have anything in common. Of course, It can also massively misfire and do the opposite, so Shaparak will outline the pitfalls and how to avoid them, too

Defining Diversity and Embracing Cultural Difference

The drive for diversity can sometimes make people in workplaces panic and scramble around to grab the nearest brown person and plonk them in a group photo. Very often, Shaparak has been that brown person. But diversity is not about tokenistic representation, and the conversation surrounding it needs to be had much earlier and at every level of an organisation. Rather than just paying lip service to diversity, we need to discuss what it really means, why it is so important and how we can truly embrace the concept to produce beneficial and equitable outcomes for all.

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