Surendra Verma

writer, editor, journalist and author (and a natural-born sceptic)

Based since 1970 in Melbourne, Australia; and before that in Perth, Australia; and before Australia many years in Dehradun, a picturesque town (at least, when I lived there) in the foothills of the Himalayas

66+ YEARS of Continuous Years of Writing and publishing ✍️ 13 May 1956 to date

My first piece as a freelance writer – a short article on optical illusion – was published in a national weekly on 13 May 1956 when I had just turned 14.

Since then, I have regularly been writing on matters related to science, technology, environment, health and education right through my high school and college days to this day. So far, I have published 1000+ non-technical general-interest articles in major national and international newspapers and magazines (including New Scientist, UK); and 20+ popular-science books (internationally in many English editions and in 14 languages other than English). Not even bothering to count numerous education articles I wrote for The Educational Magazine and Education Victoria (two Education Department of Victoria publications which I also edited from 1982 to 1990) and The Times Educational Supplement (UK), and brochures and booklets for government and corporate clients.

For some 45 years of this period, I was in demanding full-time jobs (mostly in journalism and publishing, some of these jobs also involved writing) but that didn’t stop me from moonlighting as a freelance science writer. Science writing has never been my profession, only a hobby. A highly satisfying one, I must say.

Although during my long solo journey as a freelance writer I have used a vast array of tools – pens (fountain and ballpoints), manual typewriters (desktops and portables), electric typewriters (ordinary ones to fancy daisy wheel and golf ball ones), desktop computers (with dot matrix, inkjet and laser printers; and with BSB and emails), bulky laptops and tiny notebooks, iPads and iPhones – the essential tools have always been the same throughout this period: a curious mind and resilience.

14 April 1971

My first science piece in an Australian newspaper was published on this day in Melbourne’s major daily newspaper, The Sun.  The 1500-word article covered all the seven columns of the tabloid, from the top to the bottom. 100+ pieces followed.

26 February 1983

My first science piece in Melbourne’s major daily newspaper The Age.  A 500-word piece. 100+ pieces followed.

Some Happy Happenings

  • November 2004: $15,000 literature grant by the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts for writing creative nonfiction
  • June 2007: Honorary Life Member of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the association representing Australian journalists – for contribution to journalism in Australia
  • November 2007: $25,000 literature grant by the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts for writing creative nonfiction
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