W. V. Awdry was born on June 15, 1911 in Hampshire, England. He was ordained as a minister in 1936 and served as a vicar in many parishes. Fascinated by trains since childhood, Awdry told train stories to his young son, Christopher. When his son quickly pointed out discrepancies between his retelling of these stories, Awdry realized the importance of writing them down. His wife submitted some of the stories to a literary agent, and the hugely popular Thomas the Tank Engine series was created. Between 1945 and 1972, Awdry wrote twenty-six Thomas the Tank Engine stories, beginning with The Three Railway Engines and ending with Tramway Engines. His books have sold over 50 million copies and spawned an Emmy-winning PBS animated series. Fortunately for fans of the books, Awdry's son Christopher resumed writing the series. W. V. Awdry died on March 21, 1997.