Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1890 - 1937 H. P. Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother was Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and his father was Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman for Gorham & Co. Silversmtihs. Lovecraft was reciting poetry at the age of two and when he was three years old, his father suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to Butler Hospital. He spent five years there before dying on July 19, 1898 of paresis, a form of neurosyphillis. During those five years, Lovecraft was told that his father was paralyzed and in a coma, which was not the case. His mother, two aunts and grandfather were now bringing up Lovecraft. He suffered from frequent illnesses as a boy, many of which were psychological. He began writing between the ages of six and seven and, at about the age of eight, he discovered science. He began to produce the hectographed journals, "The Scientific Gazette" (1899-1907) and "The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy" (1903-07). His first appearance in print happened, in 1906, when he wrote a letter on an astronomical matter to The Providence Sunday Journal. A short time later, he began writing a monthly astronomy column for The Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner - a rural paper. He also wrote columns for The Providence Tribune (1906-08), The Providence Evening News (1914-18), The Asheville (N.C.) Gazette-News (1915). In 1904, his grandfather died and the family suffered severe financial difficulties, which forced him and his mother to move out of their Victorian home. Devastated by this, he apparently contemplated suicide. In 1908, before graduating from high school, he suffered a nervous breakdown. He didn't receive a diploma and failed to get into Brown University, both of which caused him great shame. Lovecraft was not heard from for five years, reemerging because of a letter he wrote in protest to Fred Jackson's love story in The Argosy. His letter was published in 1913 and caused great controversy, which was noted by Edward F. Daas, President of the United Amateur Press Association (UAPA). Daas invited Lovecraft to join the UAPA, which he did in early 1914. He eventually became President and Official Editor of the UAPA and served briefly as President of the rival National Amateur Press Association (NAPA). He published thirteen issues of his own paper, The Conservative (1915-23) and contributed poetry and essays to other journals. He also wrote some fiction which titles include "The Beast in the Cave" (1905), "The Alchemist" (1908), "The Tomb" and "Dagon" (1917). In 1919, Lovecraft's mother was deteriorating, mentally and physically, and was admitted to Butler Hospital. On May 24, 1921, his mother died from a gall bladder operation. While attending an amateur journalism convention in Boston, Lovecraft met his future wife Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew. They were married on March 3, 1924 and Lovecraft moved to her apartment in Brooklyn. Sonia had a shop on Fifth Avenue that went bankrupt. In 1925, Sonia went to Cleveland for a job and Lovecraft moved to a smaller apartment in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn. In 1926, he decided to move back to Providence. Lovecraft had his aunts bar his wife, Sonia, from going to Providence to start a business because he couldn't have the stigma of a tradeswoman wife. They were divorced in 1929. After his return to Providence, he wrote his greatest fiction, which included the titles "The Call of Cthulhu" (1926), "At the Mountains of Madness" (1931), and "The Shadow Out of Time" (1934-35). In 1932, his aunt, Mrs. Clark, died; and he moved in with his other aunt, Mrs. Gamwell, in 1933. Suffering from cancer of the intestine, Lovecraft was admitted to Jane Brown Memorial Hospital and on March 15, 1937 he died.
Neil Gaiman, 1960 - Neil Gaiman was born in 1960 in Portchester, England. He worked as a journalist and freelance writer for a time, before deciding to try his hand at comic books. Some of his work has appeared in publications such as "Time Out," "The Sunday Times," "Punch" and "The Observer." Gaiman's first comic endeavor was the graphic novel series "The Sandman." It is what Gaiman is most famous for and the series has won every major industry award, including the 1991 World Fantasy Award for best short story, making it the first comic ever to win a literary award. "The Sandman" series has outsold both "Batman" and "Superman" comics, selling over a million copies a year. The collections have sold over 750,000 copies in both paperback and hardcover and Warner Bothers has optioned the rights to Sandman. Gaiman is the co-originator and co-editor of The Utterly Comic Relief, an organization which raises money to maintain First Amendment Rights for comic book creators. In 1991, the organization raised over 45,000 pounds for the Comic Relief Charity. Gaiman has also co-authored a book with Terry Pratchet called "Good Omens" and wrote "Ghastly Beyond Belief" in 1985 and "Don't Panic" in 1987. He has edited a book of poetry entitled "Now We Are Sick" and his essays have appeared in such publications as "Horror: 100 Best Books and 100 Great Detectives." Gaiman's latest project has been the development of "Neverwhere," originally a television series for the BBC, it has now been expanded into a novel and is being made into a movie created by Jim Henson Productions. He has also delved into children's books, writing "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" which was selected by "Newsweek" as one of the Best Children's Book of 1997. His last publications have been "Smoke and Mirrors" in 1998 and "Stardust," an anthology of short stories in, 1999. When not writing, Gaiman is constantly involved in fighting for the rights of literary writers of all kinds so that the First Amendment shall always be allowed for those who choose to write.