After being awarded a Scott Trust Bursary to study newspaper journalism at the City University London, Grewal had her first experience of national reporting through a work placement at The Observer. She contributed to coverage about the spread of foot and mouth disease and other domestic and international stories. After this, she began a six-month internship as a news reporter at The Times. Grewal contributed to major stories such as 9/11, the War on Terror and the ground-breaking Victoria Climbié abuse case. She also gained bylines on stories about children from Chernobyl suffering from cancer, Sex Pistols memorabilia and the shopping habits of British women.
Grewal went on to become a freelance news and features journalist for The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Express, Eastern Eye, Hampstead and Highgate Express and other local and specialist titles. She covered topics like the Iraq war, the Aids epidemic in south Asia, sexual violence in the Gujarat massacre in India, the experiences of refugees, identity politics and mental health. She was personally commissioned by the editor of The Observer to conduct a major interview with singer-songwriter, Patti Scialfa, in New York for the newspaper’s Review section. Other work included a cultural comment piece about Bruce Springsteen and a first-person commentary on arranged marriage. Her work led to major appearances at a Bruce Springsteen symposium in America (2005) and a conference about black American writer James Baldwin in London (2007). An essay about growing up with Bruce Springsteen’s music will be published in the new ‘Bruce Springsteen and the American soul: essays on the songs and influence of a cultural icon‘ out in May, 2011.
She cultivated an expertise in social affairs at Regeneration & Renewal, a politics and policy magazine about the physical, economic and community renewal of the most deprived areas in the UK, for five years. Grewal wrote news, features, analysis and reviews and edited the community renewal page and also regularly contributed to the magazine’s daily web bulletin. Grewal established herself as the leading UK reporter on neighbourhood renewal and community and social regeneration. She was also a leading journalist in the spheres of race relations and community cohesion. Some highlights include breaking a story on how regeneration bodies were failing to consider race in major developments, including those linked to the 2012 Olympics. She was the first journalist in the UK to report that public bodies could be given an official duty of tackling class prejudice. Her story was a prescient trailer for upcoming government policy: a few months after the story the Government announced it was considering such a duty. Grewal also secured the exclusive interviews with people like the Government’s controversial former “Respect tsar”, Louise Casey.
Grewal completed an advanced mid-career masters in journalism at Columbia University in May, 2010 after being awarded bursaries by the school and the North American South Asian Journalists Association – the latter for her commitment to gender issues in her work.
She is based in London.
Please click here to see samples of her work.