Simon Denyer is a journalist and author who has written for publications such as The Washington Post, The Economist, and Financial Times. His most recent book Rogue Elephant: Harnessing the Power of India’s Unruly Democracy, was published in 2014. Simon Denyer is currently based in Beijing for his latest position with Reuters News Agency.
Simon Denyer grew up in Hong Kong but spent much of his career reporting on stories like the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, or wars overseas. He studied at Trinity College Dublin before working as an editor for The Irish Times. He won awards for investigative journalism, including one from Amnesty International for exposing human rights abuses by British soldiers during Northern Ireland’s Troubles. He now lives between Delhi and Beijing with his wife and young son, continuing to cover the rise of China as one of the most influential journalists in the world.
Denyer’s writing reflects his journey from being a “foreign correspondent who parachutes into other countries to report on wars or natural disasters” to a journalist who is now “more of an analyst and commentator.” Simon Denyer spoke about the challenges of writing a book on India in 2014: “This is one of the fascinating periods to be covering India because this country has come out from being kind of semi-socialist state with almost no foreign investment into something that’s becoming more capitalist very quickly.” He compared his research methods for Rogue Elephant to those he used while reporting on China. “In my previous job, I was based mostly in Beijing…And when you’re doing stories there, it’s all through government sources or business people,” Denyer said. But then he began traveling across India talking to farmers who were protesting genetically modified cotton and small-town entrepreneurs who had started making herbal supplements and selling them to foreigners. “It’s much harder when you’re in India because there are so many more people involved,” he said, adding that it took longer for him to get sources on the record and gain access to important meetings.
Denyer began his career as a reporter while studying at Trinity College Dublin. Two professors helped inspire him toward becoming a foreign correspondent: Tom Mahon, who was “a wonderful teacher” of journalism; and James Jupp, whose passion for Asia had been passed down from his father. In an interview with The Washington Post, Denyer explained how being one of only three students sent by Ireland to study abroad each year made them feel like elite athletes rather than scholars.