Thursday, August 17, 2006

Article that appeared in a local newspaper in India in 2005

Padma Venkatraman, the author of more than twenty books for children and adults, was born in Chennai. She spent most of her childhood in Valmiki Nagar, and did most of her schooling at The School K.F.I. in Adayar, and studied for two years at St. Michael’s Academy.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at St. Joseph’s college, Bangalore, she moved to the United States to pursue graduate study in oceanography. For over a decade, she conducted experiments in physical chemistry, wrote regular columns for leading Indian publications, and placed her work in European and American magazines such as Cricket, Highlights, Odyssey, and Ask. Two sets of animal books for young children were also published during this period.

She started writing her first historical fiction, The Forbidden Temple, as a post-doctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s environmental engineering school. When this book (published by Tulika) went into second edition, she decided to cut back on science and concentrate on writing. She has recently completed a novel entitled Climbing the Stairs which is based largely on the experience of her mother, who grew up during the time of the Freedom Struggle. A biography on the life of Caroline Herschel, an astronomer who lived in the 1700’s has been accepted for publication by Morgan Reynolds, an imprint of John Wiley and Son.

Padma now works part-time as a scientist at the University of Rhode Island, where her husband is a professor. She enjoys music, yoga, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing (which she is very bad at). She also participates in science education and outreach efforts, writes regular magazine columns including a weekly column for The Hindu, and does freelance work, in addition to working on her novels. In the past, she has worked as a staff writer for two Indian children’s magazines, and as the headmistress of a school in England.

Padma uses the name “T.V. Padma” when she writes for younger audiences, and her full name when she writes for adults. Her books are available at bookstores in Chennai, through the website: http://www.tulikabooks.com/factandfiction.htm
and are also listed at: www.padmasbooks.com.

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