Meera Syal: Biography

Meera Syal

27 jun 1961

Meera Syal is a British novelist who started her career as a comedian, actress and screenwriter. She is probably best known for her role as Ummi in The Kumars at No. 42, but has since been in many different primetime television series in the UK.

Syal was born Feroza Syal in Wolverhampton, England in 1961 to Punjab-born parents. She grew up as part of the only Asian family in a small English village. Her experiences growing up definitely went on to influence her writing, especially the first of her novels, Anita and Me, which uses her own childhood as its setting. She graduated from Manchester University with a double first degree in English and Drama before embarking on a career in acting and writing. In 1997, Syal was awarded an MBE, this was upgraded to a CBE in recognition of her services to drama and literature in 2015.

Syal has written a total of three novels: Anita and Me (1996), Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999) and The House of Hidden Mothers (2015). All of Syal’s novels draw on her cultural heritage as inspiration for their characters and themes. Her most recent novel, The House of Hidden Mothers, tells the story of a group of people involved with a surrogacy clinic in India. It follows the lives of a couple looking to use a surrogate in order to give them a much wanted child, as well as the life of the surrogate mother and the circumstances leading to her decision to give so much to perfect strangers.

Syal is married to her co-star from The Kumars at No. 42, Sanjeev Bhaskar. They have been married since 2005.