RAY BRADBURY Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920. He was the third son of Leonard Spaulding Bradbury and Esther Marie Moberg Bradbury. Bradbury's early childhood in Waukegan was characterized by his loving extended family. In Bradbury's works of fiction, 1920s Waukegan becomes "Greentown," Illinois. In 1934, the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California. Bradbury attended Los Angeles High School. As his high school years progressed, Bradbury grew serious about becoming a writer. Bradbury's formal education ended with his high school graduation in 1938. In 1945 his short story "The Big Black and White Game" was selected for Best American Short Stories. That same year, Bradbury traveled through Mexico to collect Indian masks for the Los Angeles County Museum. That same year also marked the publication of Bradbury's first collection of short stories, entitled Dark Carnival. Bradbury's reputation as a leading science fiction writer was finally established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950. Bradbury's work has won innumerable honors and awards, including the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award (1954), the Aviation-Space Writer's Association Award for Best Space Article in an American Magazine (1967), the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Perhaps Bradbury's most unusual honor came from the Apollo astronaut who named Dandelion Crater after Bradbury's novel, Dandelion Wine. Over the decades, there have also been many attempts to adapt Bradbury's stories for television. Ray Bradbury Theater ran from 1986 until 1992 and allowed the author to produce televised versions of his own stories. Even while working on TV series, novels, short stories, screenplays and radio dramas, Bradbury continues to publish collections of his plays, poems and essays. ARTHUR MILLER In his writing and in his role in public life, Miller articulates his profound political and moral convictions. Dealing as it did with highly charged current events, the play received unfavorable reviews and Miller was cold-shouldered by many colleagues. When the political situation shifted, Death of a Salesman went on to become Miller's most celebrated and most produced play, which he directed at the People's Art Theatre in Beijing in 1983. Miller considers the common man "as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were." Miller lifts Willy's illusions and failures, his anguish and his family relationships, to the scale of a tragic hero. Arthur Asher Miller, the son of a women's clothing company owner, was born in 1915 in New York City. Miller's writing has earned him a lifetime of honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, seven Tony Awards, two Drama Critics Circle Awards, an Obie, an Olivier, the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish prize. Throughout his life and work, Miller has remained socially engaged and has written with conscience, clarity, and compassion. Miller's work is infused with his sense of responsibility to humanity and to his audience. LORRAINE HANSBERRY Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago as the daughter of a prominent real-estate broker, Carl Hansberry, and the niece of William Leo Hansberry (1894-1965), a Howard University professor of African history in D.C. William Leo Hansberry taught at Howard University ultil 1959 after rejecting employment offers from Atlanta University and the Honorable Marcus Garvey. Hansberry's parents were intellectuals and activists. Hansberry's interest in Africa began at an early age. In 1953 Hansberry married Robert Nemiroff, a Jewish literature student and songwriter, whom she had met on a picket line protesting discrimination at New York University. The working title of A Raisin in the Sun was originally 'The Crystal Stair' after a line in a poem by Langston Hughes. The play gained a huge success although the producer, Phil Rose, had never produced a play, and large investors were not interested in it. In New York, it ran 530 performances. Sidney Poitier played the role of Walter Lee. A Raisin in the Sun. - The play is a "living-room" drama, set in southside Chicago. Walter Lee, a black chauffeur, dreams of a better life. Hansberry's success was shadowed by accusations that her family were slumlords on Chicago's South Side. Hansberry had also marital problems and she and Nemiroff divorced in 1964. Hansberry wrote it to commemorate the centennial of the Civil War. Hansberry's next produced play, THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW (1964), was set in the New York City neighborhood of Greenwich Village, where she had long made her home. This time the protagonist was a Jewish intellectual; the play had only one black character. The play had only modest success on Broadway. By the time it opened, Hansberry spent much time in hospitals, often needing a wheelchair to get to and from rehearsals. Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer on January 12, 1965. F. SCOTT FITZGERALD The dominant influences on F. Scott Fitzgerald were aspiration, literature, Princeton, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, and alcohol. Fitzgerald’s given names indicate his parents’ pride in his father’s ancestry. As a member of the Princeton Class of 1917, Fitzgerald neglected his studies for his literary apprenticeship. In June 1918 Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama. Unwilling to wait while Fitzgerald succeeded in the advertisement business and unwilling to live on his small salary, Zelda Sayre broke their engagement. Fitzgerald quit his job in July 1919 and returned to St. Paul to rewrite his novel as This Side of Paradise. In the fall-winter of 1919 Fitzgerald commenced his career as a writer of stories for the mass-circulation magazines. Working through agent Harold Ober, Fitzgerald interrupted work on his novels to write moneymaking popular fiction for the rest of his life. The Saturday Evening Post became Fitzgerald’s best story market, and he was regarded as a “Post writer.” Fitzgerald endeavored to earn a solid literary reputation, but his playboy image impeded the proper assessment of his work. When Zelda Fitzgerald became pregnant they took their first trip to Europe in 1921 and then settled in St. Paul for the birth of their only child, Frances Scott (Scottie) Fitzgerald, who was born in October 1921. The distractions of Great Neck and New York prevented Fitzgerald from making progress on his third novel. Zelda Fitzgerald regularly got “tight,” but she was not an alcoholic. Literary opinion makers were reluctant to accord Fitzgerald full marks as a serious craftsman. Fitzgerald’s clear, lyrical, colorful, witty style evoked the emotions associated with time and place. When critics objected to Fitzgerald’s concern with love and success, his response was: “But, my God! The chief theme of Fitzgerald’s work is aspiration to the idealism he regarded as defining American character. Fitzgerald made little progress on his fourth novel, and during these years Zelda Fitzgerald’s unconventional behavior became increasingly eccentric. Fitzgerald was not among the highest-paid writers of his time; his novels earned comparatively little, and most of his income came from 160 magazine stories. Zelda Fitzgerald perished at a fire in Highland Hospital in 1948. F. Scott Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure. MARK TWAIN Samuel Langhorne Clemens, "Mark Twain", was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835 to a Tennessee country merchant, John Marshall Clemens (August 11, 1798 – March 24, 1847), and Jane Lampton Clemens (June 18, 1803 – October 27, 1890).In March 1847, when Twain was 11, his father died of pneumonia. At 22, Twain returned to Missouri. While training, Samuel convinced his younger brother Henry to work with him.  Twain was guilt-stricken over his brother's death and held himself responsible for the rest of his life.  Twain joined his brother, Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada, James W. Nye, and headed west.  Twain failed as a miner and found work at a Virginia City newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise.Twain met Charles Langdon, who showed him a picture of his sister Olivia; Twain claimed to have fallen in love at first sight. Twain owned a stake in the Buffalo Express, and worked as an editor and writer. During his years in Hartford, Twain became friends with fellow author William Dean Howells. Twain made a second tour of Europe, described in the 1880 book A Tramp Abroad. In 1906, Twain began his autobiography in the North American Review. Twain outlived Jean and Susy. In 1909, Twain is quoted as saying:  In the New York Journal, in 1897, Twain said "The report of my death was an exaggeration." Twain is buried in his wife's family plot in Elmira, New York. FREDERICK DOUGLASS February 1818 – February 20, 1895 Frederick Douglass was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in February 1818. He was named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. His mother, Harriet Bailey, was a slave on a plantation in Tuckahoe, Maryland. In Baltimore, he lived with Hugh and Sophia Auld. At his new home, Sophia Auld began to teach him to read. Douglass realized that there was power in learning to read. Douglass became determined to learn to read. In 1832, after Douglass Aaron Anthony died, he went to live with Thomas Auld on the Lloyd Plantation. This event gave Douglass spirit again. On September 3, 1838, he escaped from slavery. Shortly after his arrival, he married Anna Murray, a free black woman he had met in Baltimore. In 1841, Douglass began his life as a public figure and abolitionist. After hearing William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery speech, Douglass was inspired to tell his story. He spoke at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society annual convention about his experience as a slave. In 1845, he wrote about his life as a slave in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Douglass also became an advocate of women’s rights. LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON Anderson began publishing her own books in 1996. Anderson’s most noted work is Speak, a book she wrote for teenage readers. The book tells the story of Melinda, a high school freshman. Anderson has received many awards for her publications. Her picture books received various awards and were placed on recommended reading lists. However, Anderson’s greatest awards were given to her for the two books, Speak and Fever 1793. Anderson’s book Fever 1793 was an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults selection and also a Junior Library Guild selection. Anderson currently resides in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania.