George MacDonald, December 10, 1824 - September 18. 1905 George MacDonald was born on December 10, 1824 in Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He attended University in Aberdeen in 1840 and then went on to Highbury College in 1848 where he studied to be a Congregational Minister, receiving his M. A. His first appointment was in Arundel, but he was forced to resign form the position in 1853. He became a lecturer in English Literature at Kings College in London before finally focusing all of his attention on writing and living off the charity of friends and pupils. In 1955, MacDonald wrote his first important original work, a long religious poem entitled "Within and Without." Three years later in 1858, he wrote "Phantastes," his first contribution to the fantasy genre. It was influenced by both the English and Germanic Romantic writers and religious poets of the Renaissance. MacDonald is perhaps best known for his fantasy children's books, although he wrote fantasy books for adults as well. His most well known children's book is "At the Back of the North Wind," which was surprisingly a favorite of Mark Twain's children. In 1863, MacDonald published "David Eiginbrod, the first of a dozen novels that were set in Scotland and based on the lives of rural Scots. It was these series of novels that gained MacDonald worldwide fame and brought money to the foundering MacDonald family. MacDonald was a friend and confident of Lewis Carroll and John Ruskin. He exchanged letters with Mark Twain, and met Walt Whitman and many other American writers on his trips to America. MacDonald also inspired his later compatriots, such as C. S. Lewis, with his blend of fantasy and Christianity. George MacDonald died in Ashtead, Surrey, England, on September 18. 1905. His body is buried in Bordighea, Italy, a place he spent most of his later years in.
Writer and activist Cory Doctorow was born in Toronto, Canada on July 17, 1971. In 1999 he co-founded a free software company called Opencola and served as Canadian Regional Director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. For four years he worked as European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and in 2007 won its Pioneer Award. His first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, won a Locus Award for Best First Novel. His short story collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More won a Sunburst Award, and his bestselling novel Little Brother received the 2009 Prometheus Award, a Sunburst Award, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Doctorow also writes nonfiction books and articles, and he co-edits the blog Boing Boing.Arguably one of the canonical writers of American science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, Calif., in 1929, the daughter of Alfred L. and Theodora Kroeber. After earning an A.B. degree from Radcliffe College and an A.M. from Columbia University, Le Guin was awarded a Fulbright fellowship in 1953. The genre formerly classified as 'science fiction' has become divided into sub-genres, such as fantasy, realistic fiction, alternative history, and other categories. Le Guin resists classifying her own work in any one area, saying that some of it may be called 'science fiction', while other writings may be considered 'realist' and still others 'magical realism' (her term). Le Guin is one of the few writers whose works (which include poetry and short fiction) can be found in public libraries' collections for children, young adults, and adults. Le Guin's published works include a novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, that won an American Library Association Notable Book citation, a Horn Book Honor List citation, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1979. She has been nominated several times for the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award--the highest honors in science fiction/fantasy writing--and has won both awards. Her Earthsea Trilogy is a mainstay of libraries' fantasy fiction collections. Le Guin married Charles Alfred Le Guin on December 22, 1953. They live in Portland, Ore.