Shrabani was born in Calcutta and grew up in Dhaka, Kathmandu and Delhi. She graduated in History from St Stephen’s College, Delhi and completed her Masters from Delhi University. In 1983 she began her career as a trainee journalist in the bustling offices of The Times of India in Mumbai. She moved to London in 1987, and has since then been the correspondent of the Calcutta-based ABP group writing for Ananda Bazar Patrika, Sunday magazine and The Telegraph. She has also written for BBC History Magazine, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and other publications. Over her long career she has done exclusive interviews with many eminent people including Benazir Bhutto, Sheikh Hasina, Salman Rushdie, Nirad C Chaudhuri and Viv Richards.

She has always combined her journalism with her love of history and all her books have evolved from her observations about the shared histories of India and Britain. She is a Sunday Times best-selling author and her books include the critically acclaimed The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer: Arthur Conan Doyle, George Edalji and the Foreigner in the English Village, (2021) For King and Another Country: Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-18, (2015) Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant (now a major Oscar-nominated motion picture starring Dame Judi Dench and Ali Fazal), (2010) Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan, (2006) and Curry: The Story of the Nation’s Favourite Dish (1999 and 2003).

Shrabani has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Woman’s Hour programme and appeared on BBC Television’s Saturday Kitchen and The One Show. She has been invited to speak at several literary festivals including the Oxford Literature Festival, Cambridge History Festival, Henley Literature Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival, Indian Summer in Chicago, Seattle and Vancouver, and literature festivals in Sri Lanka, Lahore, Karachi, Dubai and other countries.

In 2010, Shrabani set up the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust to ensure that Noor’s story and sacrifice were preserved for the next generation. The Memorial was unveiled in London’s Gordon Square by Princess Anne in November 2012. It was followed by the release of a Royal Mail stamp in honour of Noor in March 2014. Her work to preserve the memory of the World War II heroine has been commended in the House of Lords. In 2020, Shrabani was invited by English Heritage to unveil a Blue Plaque for Noor Inayat Khan outside her house in Taviton Street.

In 2024 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Literature (DLitt) by the University of London. The Chancellor of the University, Princess Anne, bestowed her with the honour. She was described in the citation as a “thought leader on India and Empire.”

She lives in London with her daughters.


Hear Shrabani Basu discuss her books at SFU, Vancouver –