Bradbury and Proulx

Today, August 21st is the birthday of two literary luminaries, Ray Bradbury and Annie Proulx. Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1920 but his family moved to Los Angeles when he was twelve. Hoping to be an actor, he was encouraged by two of his high school teachers who saw promise in his writing to take that road instead. He first published in small science fiction magazines but got his first break when one of his stories was accepted in the 1945 edition of the anthology, Best American Short Stories. Perhaps his best known novel is Fahrenheit 451 about a fireman in a future society whose job it is to burn books. But on taking one home and reading it, he decides to join a revolutionary group that tries to keep literature alive.

Proulx was born in Norwich, Connecticut in 1935. In her fifties, she published her first novel, Postcards. She says about being an older writer: "I think that's important, to know how the water's gone over the dam before you start to describe it. It helps to have been over the dam yourself." Starting out as a non-fiction writer, researching topics like how to make apple cider, helped her become a better writer. When she came across a map of Newfoundland, she knew she had to go and explore places like Dead Man's Cove for her Pulitzer Prize winner, The Shipping News. Proulx's name has become better known since one of her stories, Brokeback Mountain in another Pulitzer winner, Close Range: Wyoming Stories was made
into a movie.