Meera Syal: ‘I was the weird child with a book at parties’

Meera Syal talks about her eternal love affair with words ahead of joining Kenneth Branagh's star-studded cast of Romeo and Juliet this summer

It was evident at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature that Meera Syal, promoting her latest literary accomplishment The House of Hidden Mothers, was outgrowing the term polymath. 

For even this description feels reductive for the British comedienne, author and playwright, who is about to tread the boards in Kenneth Branagh's much-talked-about production of Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre in London from May 12-13 August.

What's more, she will star alongside famous faces Richard Madden, Lily James and Derek Jacobi in Shakespeare's 400th anniversary year, playing Juliet's nurse, a major character.  

Unable to wait until May 12, we caught up with Meera at the 2016 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and discussed her deep passion for words, writing and books that has made her so successful.