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Biography and CV


Allene Symons is a veteran journalist who holds a bachelor's in philosophy from San Francisco State University, and master's degrees in the fields of Communications (Journalism) and in History of Religions (Buddhism). She was a writer, book reviewer, and senior editor for Publishers Weekly in New York (1982-1988), and has written for consumer and specialty magazines.

Born in Long Beach, California, she has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Manhattan, N.Y. Currently, she lives in Santa Ana, Calif. and recently retired as an instructor in communications and media studies at Santa Ana College.

Freelance credits include articles in Details, Los Angeles Times (book reviews and travel), and she originated and wrote the travel lit review column "Great Reads for the Restless" for (1999-2000). Her latest book is Aldous Huxley's Hands: His Quest for Perception and the Origin and Return of Psychedelic Science (Prometheus Books, distributed by Penguin Random House; release date December 8, 2015).

She is the author of Nostradamus, Vagabond Prophet: A Novel of His Life and Time (Forked Road Press, a 2011 revised edition of Vagabond Prophet, Avon Books, 1983), and co-author with Jane Parker of the nonfiction title Adventures Abroad: Exploring the Travel/Retirement Option (Gateway Books/Globe Pequot, 1991).



M.A., Communications (Journalism), California State University Fullerton
M.A., History of Religions, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, Calif.
B.A., Philosophy (Journalism minor), San Francisco State University


Writing coach. Communications and Media Studies Department, Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, Calif. Assist with editing and production of award-winning student newspaper "el Don" and magazines "West 17th" and "Viento." (2002-June 2016)

Writing for Publishing. Department of Literature & Communications, Pace University, White Plains, NY (Fall 1986 and Spring 1987). Created interdisciplinary course (Communications 200) for English, Journalism and Communications majors.

Introduction to the Memoir. California State University, Fullerton (2006)


Aldous Huxley's Hands: His Quest for Perception and the Origin and Return of Psychedelic Science. Prometheus Books, 2015 (distributed by Penguin random House; catalog link follows).

Nostradamus, Vagabond Prophet: A Novel of His Life and Time. Forked Road Press, 2011 (revised edition of 1983 title originally published as Vagabond Prophet: A Novel of Nostradamus and His Time. New York. Avon Books,1983).

Adventures Abroad: Exploring the Travel-Retirement Option. San Francisco: Gateway Books/Globe Pequot, 1991. Co-author with Jane Parker. Based on expert advice and 50 profiles of expatriate Americans.

Online columnist. “Great Reads for the Restless” for, a travel literature review feature with emphasis on travel memoirs 1999-2000.

Contributing writer and book reviewer. "H Magazine: Homes and Lifestyles of Southern California" (Anaheim Hills). 2004 to 2006. Wrote profiles of artists and designers and contributed bimonthly Book Previews column.


Articles in the Los Angeles Times (Travel and Book Review sections), Details, American Bungalow, Scuba Diver, H Magazine, Successful Retirement, New West, Physicians Travel & Meetings, and in various trade magazines, including School Music Dealer, Small Press, Non-Foods Merchandiser, Supermarket News.


Senior editor (New York) for "Publishers Weekly" from 1982 to 1988. Bookselling & Marketing editor. Contributing editor in California from 1988 to 1991.

Senior editor (Los Angeles bureau) for "Drug Store News" and wrote for sister publication "For the Pharmacist" magazines, published in New York by Lebhar-Friedman from 1991 to 1999. Also contributed to weekly online edition.

Associate editor (Los Angeles) "School Music Dealer" magazine, published by Windplayer, Inc., from 1999 to 2004.


Book Publishing positions in sales and marketing for Avon Books (then Hearst Corp., now a division of Harper Collins) in California and New York, 1979-1981

Bookseller with independent and chain book stores. Bookstore manager: Rizzoli International Bookstores (Costa Mesa location).


Cahners Editorial Medal of Excellence: Best News Reporting Article 1987 (from a field of 50 business magazines.

Writing Fellowship, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA, July 1987

Authors Guild
National Book Critics Circle
PEN West