Shankar's real name is Mani Shankar Mukherjee. Sankar is a very popular writer in the Bengali language. He grew up in Howrah district of West Bengal, India.
Shankar's father died while Shankar was still a teenager, as a result of which Shankar became a clerk to the last British barrister of the Calcutta High Court, Noel Frederick Barwell. The experience of working under Mr. Barwell provided the material for his first book Koto Ojanare (কত অজানারে), translated as The Great Unknown.
During 1962, Shankar conceived the idea of writing the novel Chowringhee on a rainy day at the waterlogged crossing of Central Avenue and Dalhousie - a busy business district in the heart of Kolkata.
Many of Shankar's works have been made into films. Some notable ones are - Chowringhee, Jana Aranya (জন-অরণ্য, translated as The Middleman) and Seemabaddha (সীমাবদ্ধ, out of which the last two were directed by Satyajit Ray.
Sankar is the author of books: Chowringhee, The Middleman, The Monk as Man: The Unknown Life of Swami Vivekananda, The Great Unknown, অচেনা অজানা বিবেকানন্দ, সীমাবদ্ধ, ঘরের মধ্যে ঘর, নিবেদিতা রিসার্চ ল্যাবরেটরি, এক ব্যাগ শংকর, বোধোদয়