Jane Austen

English novelist Jane Austen tragically died in 18th July 1817. She was born 16th December 1775 and her works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism and biting social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading.

The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer.

The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture. Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is “famously scarce”, according to one biographer. Only some personal and family letters remain (by one estimate only 160 out of Austen’s 3,000 letters are extant), and her sister Cassandra (to whom most of the letters were originally addressed) burned “the greater part” of the ones she kept and censored those she did not destroy. Other letters were destroyed by the heirs of Admiral Francis Austen, Jane’s brother. Most of the biographical material produced for fifty years after Austen’s death was written by her relatives and reflects the family’s biases in favour of “good quiet Aunt Jane”. Scholars have unearthed little information since. Since her death Jane Austen’s novels such as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Emma, have all remained popular and have given rise to numerous television and film adaptations.

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George A. Romero

Best known as an influential pioneer of the horror-film genre, and for his series of gruesome and satirical horror films, about an imagined zombie apocalypse, the American-Canadian filmmaker, writer and editor, George Andrew Romero Sadly died July 16, 2017. He was born February 4, 1940 in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the son of Ann (Dvorsky) and George Romero, a commercial artist. Raised in the Bronx, he would frequently ride the subway into Manhattan to rent film reels to view at his house.He was one of only two people who repeatedly rented the opera-based film The Tales of Hoffmann; the other was future director Martin Scorsese. Romero attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

After graduating from college in 1960, Romero began  shooting short films and TV commercials. One of his early commercial films was a segment for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in which Rogers underwent a tonsillectomy. With nine friends, including screenwriter John A. Russo, Romero formed Image Ten Productions in the late 1960s, and produced Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by him and co-written with John A. Russo, the movie became a cult classic and a defining moment for modern horror cinema. Among the inspiration for Romero’s filmmaking, was the British film, The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) and Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962).

Romero then released the films There’s Always Vanilla (1971), Jack’s Wife / Season of the Witch (1972) and The Crazies (1973) which dealt with a bio spill that induces an epidemic of homicidal madness. Sadly these were not as well received as Night of the Living Dead or some of his later work. So in 1978 Romero returned to the zombie genre with Dawn of the Dead. Shot on a budget of $1.5 million the film earned over $55 million internationally. Romero then made a third entry in his “Dead Series” with Day of the Dead in 1985. Between these two films, Romero shot Knightriders (1981), about a group of modern-day jousters who reenact tournaments on motorcycles and Creepshow written by Stephen King, an anthology of tongue-in-cheek tales modeled after 1950s horror comics. The success of Creepshow led to the creation of Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, a horror anthology television series that aired from 1983 to 1988. In 1988 Romero made Monkey Shines, about a killer helper monkey; Two Evil Eyes (a.k.a. “Due occhi Diabolici”, 1990), an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation in collaboration with Dario Argento; The Dark Half (1993) written by Stephen King; and Bruiser (2000), about a man whose face becomes a blank mask.

Romero updated his original screenplay and executive-produced the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini who was also responsible for the makeup and special effects in many of Romero’s previous films including Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Monkey Shines. Romero also had a cameo appearance in Jonathan Demme’s Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as one of Hannibal Lecter’s jailers.

In 1998, he directed a live-action commercial promoting the videogame Resident Evil 2 in Tokyo. The 30-second advertisement featured the game’s two main characters, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, fighting a horde of zombies while in Raccoon City’s police station. The project was obvious territory for Romero; the Resident Evil series has been heavily influenced by the “Dead Series”. The commercial was popular and was shown in the weeks before the game’s actual release. Capcom was so impressed with Romero’s work, That they wanted him to direct the first Resident Evil film. He declined at first although in later years, he reconsidered and wrote a script for the first movie. It was eventually rejected in favor of Paul W. S. Anderson’s version.

Universal Studios produced and released a 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, with which Romero was not involved. Later that year, Romero kicked off the DC Comics title Toe Tags with a six-issue miniseries titled The Death of Death. Based on an unused script that Romero had previously written for his “Dead Series”, the comic miniseries concerns Damien, an intelligent zombie who remembers his former life, struggling to find his identity as he battles armies of both the living and the dead. Romero has stated that the miniseries is set in the same kind of world as his Dead films, but featured other locales besides Pittsburgh, where the majority of his films take place. In 2005 Romero, who lived in Toronto, released a fourth Dead movie, Land of the Dead,. The movie’s working title was “Dead Reckoning” and it starred Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, and John Leguizamo. There is often social commentary in much of Romero’s work. They view Night of the Living Dead as a film made in reaction to the turbulent 1960s, Dawn of the Dead as a satire on consumerism, Day of the Dead as a study of the conflict between science and the military, and Land of the Dead as an examination of class conflict

In 2006, Romero began his next project, called Zombisodes. Broadcast on the Internet, it is a combination of a series of “Making of” shorts and story expansion detailing the work behind the 2007 film George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead which was released on DVD And Bluray in 2008. Next Romero released the film Survival of the Dead in 2009 which was to be a direct sequel to Diary of the Dead, but features only Alan van Sprang, who appeared briefly as a rogue National Guard officer, reprising his role from the previous film, This film centers on two feuding families taking very different approaches in dealing with the living dead on a small coastal island.

Romero also made an appearance in the second downloadable map pack called “Escalation” for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops. He appears as himself in the zombies map “Call of the Dead” as a non-playable enemy character. Romero is featured alongside actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund, all of the four being playable characters. He is portrayed as a powerful “boss” zombie armed with a movie studio light. In 2010, Romero was asked to direct a 3D remake of Deep Red (1975) but he declined. In 2012, Romero returned to video games recording his voice for “Zombie Squash” as the lead villain, Dr. B. E. Vil. Then In 2014, Marvel Comics began releasing Empire of the Dead, a 15-issue miniseries written by Romero. The series, which is broken up into three five-issues acts, features not only zombies but also vampires and was also being developed into a TV series written and executive-produced by Romero and Peter Grunwald.

In 2017, Romero announced plans for George A. Romero Presents: Road of the Dead, a film that he co-wrote with Matt Birman, who would direct and Produce the film with Matt Manjourides and Justin Martell Birman had previously been the second unit director on Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Birman stated that the movie would be like The Road Warrior meets Rollerball at a NASCAR race, with significant inspiration from Ben-Hur. Road of the Dead is set in a sanctuary city where this fat cat runs a haven for rich folks. and one of the things that he does to entertain the wealthy residents is to stage drag races in a modern day coliseum using zombie prisoners. There’s also a scientist there doing genetic experiments, trying to make the zombies stop eating us, and he has discovered that with a little tampering, they can recall certain memory skills that enable them to drive in these races. It’s really The Fast and the Furious with zombies”.

Sadly though Romero died in his sleep following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer”,  while listening to the score of one of his favorite films, The Quiet Man, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter from his second marriage, Tina Romero, at his side.

Romero’s influence, and that of Night of the Living Dead, remains huge and he has inspired inumerous filmmakers and artists, in particular those who have worked in the zombie subgenre, including comics writer Robert Kirkman, novelist Seth Grahame-Smith,and filmmakers John Carpenter, Edgar Wright and Jack Thomas Smith. He has left an impressive legacy and is Regarded as the “Godfather of the Dead” and the “father of the modern movie zombie”. The first episode of season 8 of The Walking Dead, “Mercy”, was also dedicated to the memory of Romero and stuntman John Bernecker.

Patrick Stewart

Best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films English film, television and stage actor Patrick Stewart was Born 13th July 1940. He has had a distinguished career in theatre and television. He is most widely known for his television and film roles, such , Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series, and as the voice of Avery Bullock in American Dad!. He attributes his acting career to an English teacher who “put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand and said, ‘Now get up on your feet and perform’”. In 1951, aged 11, he entered Mirfield Free Grammar School, where he continued to study drama. At age 15, Stewart dropped out of school and increased his participation in local theatre. He acquired a job as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer, but after a year, his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism, Stewart also trained as a boxer.

Following a period with Manchester’s Library Theatre, he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where He appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his debut TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer. In 1969, he had a brief TV cameo role as Horatio, opposite Ian Richardson’s Hamlet, in a performance of the gravedigger scene as part of episode six of Sir Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation television series. He made his Broadway debut as Snout in Peter Brook’s legendary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then moved to the Royal National Theatre in the early 1980s. Over the years, Stewart took roles in many major television series without ever becoming a household name. He appeared as Lenin in Fall of Eagles; Sejanus in I, Claudius; Karla in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People; Claudius in a 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet. He even took the romantic male lead in the 1975 BBC adaptation of Mrs Gaskell’s North and South. He also took the lead, playing Psychiatric Consultant Dr. Edward Roebuck in a BBC TV series called Maybury in 1981. He also had minor roles in several films such as King Leondegrance in John Boorman’s Excalibur the character Gurney Halleck in David Lynch’s 1984 film version of Dune and Dr. Armstrong in Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce.

In 1987 Stewart began his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and received a 1995 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series”. From 1994 to 2002, he also portrayed Picard in the films Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact , Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis and in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s pilot episode “Emissary”. Stewart became so typecast as Picard that he has found obtaining other Hollywood roles difficult. The main exception is the X-Men film series. The films’ success has resulted in another lucrative regular genre role in a major superhero film series. Stewart’s character, Charles Xavier, is very similar to Picard and himself; “a grand, deep-voiced, bald English guy”. He has also since voiced the role in three video games, X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II and X-Men: Next Dimension. Other film and television roles include the flamboyantly gay Sterling in the 1995 film Jeffrey and King Henry II in The Lion in Winter, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance and an Emmy Award nomination for executive-producing the film. He portrayed Captain Ahab in the 1998 made-for-television film version of Moby Dick, receiving Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for his performance. He also starred as Scrooge in a 1999 television film version, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his performance. (You may be able to find copies of these on Ebay)

In late 2003, during the eleventh and final season of NBC’s Frasier, Stewart appeared on the show as a gay Seattle socialite and Opera director who mistakes Frasier for a potential lover. In July 2003, he appeared in Top Gear in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment, he was cast as Professor Ian Hood in an ITV thriller 4-episode series Eleventh Hour, created by Stephen Gallagher. He also played Captain Nemo in a two part adaptation of The Mysterious Island andt also appeared in the television series Extras. For which he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2006 for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.Stewart is also a fairly frequent guest voice on Fox’s animated comedy American Dad! as Avery Bullock and also appeared with the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the Family Guy episode “Not All Dogs Go To Heaven

Although he remained associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the lengthy filming for the Next Generation prevented him from participating in most other works. He instead began writing one-man shows that he performed in California universities and acting schools. Stewart found that one—a version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in which he portrayed all 40-plus characters—was ideal for him because of its limited performing schedule which was performed on Broadway, receiving a nomination for that year’s Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show it also had d a 23-day run in London’s West End. For his performances in this play, Stewart also received the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance in 1992 and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for Solo Performance in 1994. Other Shakespeare roles during this period included Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as well as in Rupert Goold’s 2006 production of The Tempest as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. In 1997, he took the role of Othello with the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.)

Surprisingly for a Shakespearean actor, he has not played notable roles such as Hamlet, Romeo, and Richard III He played Antony again opposite Harriet Walter’s Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the Novello Theatre in London in 2007 to excellent reviews. During this period, Stewart also addressed the Durham Union Society on his life in film and theatre. When Stewart began playing Macbeth in the West End in 2007, some said that he was too old for the role; however, he and the show again received excellent reviews, with one critic calling Stewart “one of our finest Shakespearean actors”. He was named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre based at St Catherine’s College, Oxford in January 2007. In 2008, Stewart played King Claudius in Hamlet alongside David Tennant. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for the part. When collecting his award, he dedicated the award “in part” to Tennant and Tennant’s understudy Edward Bennett, after Tennant’s back injury and subsequent absence from four weeks of Hamlet disqualified him from an Olivier nomination.Stewart has expressed interest in appearing in Doctor Who.

In 2009, Stewart appeared alongside Ian McKellen as the lead duo of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), in Waiting for Godot. Stewart had previously only appeared once alongside McKellen on stage, but the pair had developed a close friendship while waiting around on set filming the X-Men films. “In 2011, Stewart appeared in the feature length documentary The Captains alongside William Shatner, who also wrote and directed the film. which is about actors who have portrayed captains within the Star Trek franchise and Stewart reveals the fear and personal failings that came along with his tenure as a Starfleet captain, but also the great triumphs he believes accompanied his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Harrison Ford

American film actor and producer. Harrison Ford was born July 13 in 1942. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His career has spanned six decades and includes roles in several Hollywood blockbusters, including Presumed Innocent, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and What Lies Beneath. At one point, four of the top six box-office hits of all time included one of his roles. Five of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry. In 1997, Ford was ranked No. 1 in Empire’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. As of July 2008, the United States domestic box office grosses of Ford’s films total over US$3.5 billion, with worldwide grosses surpassing $6 billion, making Ford the third highest grossing U.S. domestic box-office star.

His first known part was an uncredited role as a bellhop in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round and he later worked for Universal Studios, playing minor roles in many television series throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Gunsmoke, Ironside, The Virginian, The F.B.I., Love, American Style, and Kung Fu. He appeared in the western Journey to Shiloh and had an uncredited, non-speaking role in the film Zabriskie Point. He eventually landed his first starring film role. In 1975, after George Lucas hired him to read lines for actors auditioning for parts in his Star Wars. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford’s portrayal, and cast him as Han Solo. Star Wars became one of the most successful movies of all time worldwide, and established Ford as a superstar. He went on to star in the similarly-successful Star Wars sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as The Star Wars Holiday Special. Ford’s status as a leading actor was solidified when he starred as Indiana Jones in the George Lucas/Steven Spielberg collaboration Raiders of the Lost Ark. Though Spielberg was interested in casting Ford in the lead role from the start, Lucas was not, due to having already worked with the actor in American Graffiti and Star Wars, but he eventually relented after Tom Selleck was unable to accept.Ford reprised the role for the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He later returned to his role as Indiana Jones again for a 1993 episode of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and for the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Ford has been in numerous other films, including Heroes, Force 10 from Navarone, and Hanover Street. Ford also co-starred alongside Gene Wilder in the buddy-Western The Frisco Kid, playing a bank robber with a heart of gold. He then starred as Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott’s cult sci-fi classic Blade Runner, and in a number of dramatic-action films: Peter Weir’s Witness and The Mosquito Coast, and Roman Polanski’s Frantic The 1990s brought Ford the role of Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, as well as leading roles in Alan Pakula’s Presumed Innocent and The Devil’s Own, Andrew Davis’ The Fugitive, Sydney Pollack’s remake of Sabrina, and Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One. Ford also played straight dramatic roles, including an adulterous husband in both Presumed Innocent and What Lies Beneath, and a recovering amnesiac in Mike Nichols’ Regarding Henry. He also starred in Six Days Seven Nights, Random Hearts, K-19: The Widowmaker, Hollywood Homicide, Firewall, Extraordinary Measures, and also starred alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the science fiction Western film Cowboys & Aliens. Ford has also filmed corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, Directed by Robert Luketic and starringHunger Games/Avengers star Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman.

Ford Reprised his role as Han Solo alongside Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens, which also starred John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Crystal Clarke, Pip Anderson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker. Although he sustained a minor injury while filming When part of the Millenium Falcon fell on him. The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi and sees a new threat in the form of the The First Order rising from the ashes of the Empire and threatening to take over the Galaxy. The First Order is led by the villainous Supreme Leader Snoke. J. J. Abrams Directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who acted as co-writer on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The film was released December 2015, with Episode VIII The Last Jedi released in 2017. There is also the standalone film Solo directed by Ron Howard starring Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Donald Glover, which concerns Han Solo’s upbringing.

Since 1992, Ford has also lent his voice to a series of public service messages promoting environmental involvement for EarthShare, an American federation of environmental and conservation charities. In 2006 He also received the Jules Verne Spirit of Nature Award for his ongoing work in preservation of the planet. In 1993, the arachnologist Norman Platnick named a new species of spider Calponia harrisonfordi, and in 2002, the entomologist Edward O. Wilson named a new ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi (in recognition of Harrison’s work as Vice Chairman of Conservation International). Following on his success portraying the archaeologist Indiana Jones, Ford also plays a part in supporting the work of professional archaeologists. He serves as a General Trustee on the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology.

Ford assists the AIA in their mission to increase public awareness of archaeology and the preventing of looting and the illegal antiquities trade. Harrison Ford is also the husband of actress Calista Flockhart. During his film career Ford has received many awards including Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in Witness, He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has received three additional “Best Actor” Golden Globe nominations for The Mosquito Coast, The Fugitive and Sabrina, and also received the first ever Hero Award for his many iconic roles, including Han Solo and Indiana Jones, at the 2007 Scream Awards, and also the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2000.

To Kill a Mocking bird by Harper Lee

The classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published on 11 July 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator’s father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel’s impact by writing, “In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”

As a Southern Gothic novel the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in English-speaking countries with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been subject to campaigns for removal from public classrooms, and is often challenged for its use of racial epithets. Reception to the novel varied widely upon publication. Literary analysis of it is sparse, considering the number of copies sold and its widespread use in education. Author Mary McDonough Murphy, who collected individual impressions of the book by several authors and public figures, calls To Kill a Mockingbird “an astonishing phenomenon”.

In 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one “every adult should read before they die”.It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has been performed annually in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Harper Lee continues to respond to the book’s impact, she has refused any personal publicity for herself or the novel since 1964. To Kill a Mockingbird has also been adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 by director Robert Mulligan, with a screenplay by Horton Foote. Since 1990, a play based on the novel has also been performed annually in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

In 2015 Harper Lee also published a sequel Go Set A Watchmen, This was originally  written in the mid-1950s, before To Kill a Mockingbird was written, which was published in 1960. Sadly the manuscript for Go Set a Watchmen was Assumed to have been lost, until being discovered in late 2014 and published as originally written, with no revisions. Go Set a Watchman is described as a moving, funny and compelling 304 page novel which is set some twenty years after the events in To Kill a Mockingbird. It contains many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, including an adult Scout (Jean Louise) Finch who travels from New York to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father, Atticus Finch and is “forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood. Go Set a Watchman also examines how the characters adjust to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America. The title alludes to Scout’s view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (“watchman”) of Maycomb and comes from Isaiah 21:6:

“For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”

John Wyndham

English Science Fiction Author John Wyndham was born 10 July 1903 in the village of Dorridge near Knowle, Warwickshire (now West Midlands), England, the son of George Beynon Harris, a barrister, and Gertrude Parkes, the daughter of a Birmingham ironmaster. His early childhood was spent in Edgbaston in Birmingham, but when he was 8 years old his parents separated and he and his brother, the writer Vivian Beynon Harris, spent the rest of their childhood at a number of English preparatory and public schools, including Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon, during World War I. His longest and final stay was at Bedales School near Petersfield in Hampshire (1918–21), which he left at the age of 18, and where he blossomed and was happy.

After leaving school, Wyndham tried several careers, including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, but mostly relied on an allowance from his family. He eventually turned to writing for money in 1925 and, by 1931, was selling short stories and serial fiction to American science fiction magazines, most under the pen names “John Beynon” and “John Beynon Harris”, although he also wrote some detective stories including The Secret People (1935), as John Beynon, Foul Play Suspected (1935), as John Beynon and Planet Plane (1936), as John Beynon (a.k.a The Space Machine and Stowaway to Mars).

During World War II, Wyndham first served as a censor in the Ministry of Information, then joined the British Army, serving as a Corporal cipher operator in the Royal Corps of Signals. He participated in the Normandy landings, although he was not involved in the first days of the operation. After the war, Wyndham returned to writing, inspired by the success of his brother, who had four novels published. He altered his writing style; and, by 1951, using the John Wyndham pen name for the first time, he wrote the novel The Day of the Triffids. His pre-war writing career was not mentioned in the book’s publicity, and people were allowed to assume that it was a first novel from a previously unknown writer.

Novels published by John Wyndham include The Day of the Triffids (1951), also known as Revolt of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes (1953), published in the US as Out of the Deeps, The Chrysalids (1955), The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), filmed twice as Village of the Damned, The Outward Urge (1959), Trouble with Lichen (1960) and Chocky, the Web and Plan for Chaos. Wyndham also published many Short story collections including Jizzle, The Seeds of Time, Tales of Gooseflesh and Laughter, Consider Her Ways and Others, The Infinite Moment, Sleepers of Mars, Worlds to Barter, Invisible Monster, The Man from Earth, the Third Vibrator, Wanderers of Time, Derelict of Space, Child of Power, The Last Lunarians, The Puff-ball Menace (a.k.a. Spheres of Hell), Exiles on Asperus, No Place Like Earth, The Lost Machine, The Venus Adventure” (1932), The Stare, The Moon Devils, The Cathedral Crypt, The Perfect Creature, Judson’s Annihilator and The Trojan Beam

In 1963, he married Grace Isobel Wilson, whom he had known for more than 20 years; the couple remained married until he died. He and Grace lived for several years in separate rooms at the Penn Club, London and later lived near Petersfield, Hampshire, just outside the grounds of Bedales School. He died 11 March 1969, aged 65, at his home in Petersfield, survived by his wife and his brother. Subsequently, some of his unsold work was published; and his earlier work was re-published. His archive was acquired by Liverpool University. On 24 May 2015 an alley in Hampstead that appears in The Day of the Triffids was formally named Triffid Alley as a memorial to him.

Dean Koontz

American horror and science fiction author Dean Koontz was born July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania. he was regularly beaten and abused by his alcoholic father, which influenced his later writing, as also did the courage of his physically diminutive mother in standing up to her husband” In his senior year at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, he won a fiction competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly magazine. After graduation in 1967, he went to work as an English teacher at Mechanicsburg High School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. In the 1960s, Koontz worked for the Appalachian Poverty Program, a federally funded initiative designed to help poor children.

During his spare time, he wrote his first novel, Star Quest, which was published in 1968. Koontz went on to write over a dozen science fiction novels. Seeing the Catholic faith as a contrast to the chaos in his family, Koontz converted in college because it gave him answers for his life, admiring its intellectual rigor and saying it permits a view of life that sees mystery and wonder in all things He says he sees Catholicism as English writer and Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton did: that it encourages a “joy about the gift of life”Koontz says that spirituality has always been part of his books, as are grace and our struggle as fallen souls

In the 1970s, Koontz began writing suspense and horror fiction, both under his own name and several pseudonyms, sometimes publishing up to eight books a year. Koontz has stated that he began using pen names after several editors convinced him that authors who switched back and forth between different genres invariably fell victim to “negative crossover” (alienating established fans and simultaneously failing to pick up any new ones). Known pseudonyms used by Koontz during his career include Deanna Dwyer, K. R. Dwyer, Aaron Wolfe, David Axton, Brian Coffey, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Owen West, Richard Paige and Anthony North. As Brian Coffey he wrote the “Mike Tucker” trilogy [Blood Risk, Surrounded, Wall of Masks] in acknowledged tribute to the Parker novels of Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake). Many of Koontz’s pseudonymous novels are now available under his real name. Many others remain suppressed by Koontz, who bought back the rights to ensure they could not be republished; he has, on occasion, said that he might revise some for re-publication, but only 3 have appeared – Demon Seed and Invasion were both heavily rewritten before they were republished, and Prison of Ice had certain sections bowdlerised.

After writing full-time for more than ten years, Koontz’s breakthrough novel was Whispers. The two books before that, The Key to Midnight and The Funhouse, were written under pen names. His very first bestseller was Demon Seed, the sales of which picked up after the release of the film of the same name in 1977, and sold over two million copies in one year. From 1979 on, Koontz’s books regularly became paperback bestsellers. His first hardcover bestseller, was Strangers. Since then, 12 hardcovers and 13 paperbacks written by Koontz have reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. In 1997 psychologist Katherine Ramsland published an extensive biography of Koontz based on interviews with him and his family. This this often showed the conception of Koontz’s characters and plots from events in his own life Many of his novels are set in and around Orange County, California.

One of Dean Koontz’s pen names was inspired by his dog, Trixie Koontz, a golden retriever, shown in many of his book-jacket photos. Trixie originally was a service dog with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a charitable organization that provides service dogs for people with disabilities Trixie was a gift from CCI in gratitude of Koontz’s substantial donations, totaling $2,500,000 between 1991 and 2004. Koontz was taken with the charity while he was researching his novel Midnight, which included a black Labrador retriever, named Moose. In 2004 Koontz wrote and edited Life Is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living in her name, and in 2005 Koontz wrote a second book credited to Trixie, Christmas Is Good. Both books are written from a supposed canine perspective on the joys of life with royalties being donated to CCI. Sadly In 2007 Trixie contracted terminal cancer that created a tumor in her heart. The Koontzes had her put to sleep outside their family home on June 30. Following Trixie’s death Koontz continued writing on his website under Trixie’s names in “TOTOS”, standing for Trixie on the Other Side. Trixie was also the inspiration for The Darkest Evening of the Year, about a woman who runs a golden retriever rescue home, and who rescues a ‘special’ dog, named Nickie, who eventually saves her life. In August 2009 Koontz published “A Big Little Life,” a memoir of his life with Trixie. In October 2008 Koontz revealed that he had adopted a new dog, Anna. It eventually was learned that Anna was the grandniece of Trixie. Sadly Anna died on May 22, 2016 so Koontz then adopted a new dog, Elsa, on July 11, 2016. As of 2006 Koontz lives in Pelican Hills on the Newport Coast, California with his wife, Gerda (Cerra). In 2008 he was ranked the world’s sixth most highly paid author, tied with John Grisham, at $25 million annually.

Many of Dean Koontz’s novels have been adapted for film and Television including Odd Thomas, starring Anton Yelchin, Frankenstein; starring Adam Goldberg, Parker Posey, Michael Madsen, Vincent Perez, and Thomas Kretschmann, Black River; starring Jay Mohr, and Stephen Tobolowsky, Sole Survivor; starring Billy Zane, John C. McGinley, and Gloria Reuben, Watchers Reborn; starring Mark Hamill, Phantoms (1998); starring Peter O’Toole, Ben Affleck, Rose McGowan, and Joanna Going. Mr. Murder; starring Stephen Baldwin, Thomas Haden Church, and James Coburn. Intensity; starring John C. McGinley, Molly Parker, and Piper Laurie. Hideaway; starring Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti, Jeremy Sisto, and Alicia Silverstone. Watchers 3; starring Wings Hauser. Servants of Twilight starring Bruce Greenwood. The Face of Fear starring Pam Dawber and Lee Horsley. Watchers II; starring Marc Singer and Tracy Scoggins. Whispers; starring Victoria Tennant, Chris Sarandon, and Jean LeClere. The Passengers starring Jean-Louis Trintignant (French film adaptation of Koontz’s novel Shattered) and Demon Seed; starring Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, and Robert Vaughn as the voice of Proteus.