Atima Srivastava was born in Mumbai, India in 1961. When she was eight years old, she moved to London with her family, where she still lives today.
Srivastava attended the Moat Mount School, now the Mill Hill County High School, in the 1970s. In 1980 she entered the University of Essex where she earned her bachelor's degree in 1983.
Srivastava wrote her first novel, Transmission, in 1992. The story follows a young semi-autobiographibcal Anglo-Indian woman named Angie, who, much like Srivastava, works as a film producer. The book focuses on the relationships that Angie has with her parents, an old-fashioned and authoritarian Indian couple, and with Lol and Kathi, an HIV-positive couple about whom she wants to make a documentary and with whom she has a romantic affair. The title comes from the book's examination of several forms of transmission, the transmission of Indian culture and lifestyle into modern London and of sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2000 Srivastava published her second book, Looking for Maya. The plot tells of another young Anglo-Indian woman, Mira, who works as an author in London. Mira is forced to overcome issues of identity, love, tradition, and modernity as she attempts to find meaning while switching from one romantic entanglement to another. Both novels have protagonists who, instead of spiralling into an existential identity crisis over nationality and culture choose to focus on minor events in the characters' lives and their relation to a greater pursuit for love, success, and happiness.
Srivastava also written several short stories which have been published in anthologies such as New Writing 2001, Well-Sorted, and Tran-Lit.
She is working on a third novel titled The Non-Resident Indian.
Since 1985, Srivastava has worked as a film editor and director. In 1993 she helped produce a TV documentary Moving Pictures which is a journalism series reporting on global cinema. She also has written three TV-movie screenplays, Dancing in the Dark and The Legendary Vindaloo for Channel 4, and Camden Story for the BBC. In addition, the National Theatre Company commissioned her to write a play titled Why Not Love? which premiered in 2001.
Srivastava has done a significant amount of work as a lecturer and curriculum designer for both British and European universities. Since 2000 she has worked as a lecturer at the New York University-London program where she teaches creative writing and at CAPA International Education where she teaches a course called Writing the City in addition to creative writing. She also taught various writing and film technique and development courses at IES Abroad between 2002 and 2007 and taught creative writing at the University of Greenwich from 2007 to 2009. Her books have been studied at universities in Poland, Spain, and Russia.
She is also the British author-in-residence at the Universities of Singapore, Sophia in Bulgaria, Mumbai, Berne, Cologne, Mainz, Ewha in Seoul, Connecticut College (USA) and Warwick University.
Srivastava has won several awards for film and literature. She won the Bridgeport Short Story Prize in 1994 for her short story Dragons in E8. She has won two Arts Council Writers' Awards, one in 1998 for her book Looking for Maya, and one in 2000 for her unreleased third book. Also in 2000 she received the Hawthornden Fellowship and was a finalist at the London Writers' Competition.