Ray Bradbury, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. His reputation as a visionary writer was established with The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth men to colonise Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece, a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In all, Bradbury has published seventy-two books of short stories, poems, essays, and plays. Ray Bradbury's work has been included in three Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medial for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City. Bradbury has been nominated for an Academy Award (for his animated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright), and has won an EMMY (for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree). He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's Ray Bradbury Theater. Married since 1947, he and his late wife Maggie had four daughters together. He lives in Los Angeles.