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 the 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 (which has now become TES Magazine), 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 seven columns of the tabloid, from the top to the bottom. 100+ pieces followed.

26 February 1983

My first science piece was 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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