Danielle Steel

Prolific Best selling American romance novellist Danielle Steel was born August 14, 1947. in New York City. Her father, John Schulein-Steel, was a German-Jewish immigrant and a descendant of owners of Löwenbräu beer. Her mother, Norma da Camera Stone dos Reis, was the daughter of a Portuguese diplomat. She spent much of her childhood in France, where from an early age she was included in her parents’ dinner parties. Steel started writing stories as a child, and by her late teens had begun writing poetry. Raised Catholic, she thought of becoming a nun during her early years.A 1963 graduate of the Lycée Français de New York, she studied literature design and fashion design, first at Parsons School of Design and then at New York University.

In 1965 Steel married French-American banker Claude-Eric Lazard in 1965 at age 18. While a young wife, and still attending New York University, Steel began writing, completing her first manuscript at the age of 19. After the birth of their daughter Beatrix, Steel worked for a public-relations agency in New York called Supergirls. A client (Ladies’ Home Journal editor John Mack Carter) encouraged her to focus on writing having been impressed with her freelance articles. He suggested she write a book, which she did. She later moved to San Francisco, and worked as a copywriter for Grey Advertising. Steel and Lazard divorced. In 1972 and her first novel, Going Home, was published. The novel contained many of the themes that her writing would become known for, including a focus on family issues and human relationships. The heroine of Going Home was a divorced single mother.

While still married to Lazard, Steel met Danny Zugelder while interviewing an inmate in a prison near Lompoc, California, where Zugelder was also incarcerated. He moved in with Steel when he was paroled in June 1973, but returned to prison in early 1974 on robbery and rape charges. After receiving her divorce from Lazard in 1975, she married Zugelder in the prison canteen. She divorced him in 1978, however the relationship spawned Passion’s Promise and Now and Forever, the two novels that launched her career. Steel married her third husband, William George Toth, the day after her divorce from Zugelder was finalized. She was already 8​1⁄2 months pregnant with his child. With the success of her fourth book, The Promise, she became a participant in San Francisco high society while Toth, a former drug addict, was left out. They divorced in March 1981

Steel married for the fourth time in 1981, to vintner John Traina. Traina subsequently adopted Steel’s son Nick and gave him his family name. Together they had an additional five children, Samantha (April 14, 1982), Victoria, Vanessa a fashion stylist, Maxx and Zara. Steel became a near-permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestsellers lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times Bestseller List for the most consecutive weeks of any author—381 consecutive weeks at that time.  Since her first book was published, every one of her novels has hit bestseller lists in paperback, and each one released in hardback has also been a hardback bestseller. During this time Steel also contributed to her first non-fiction work. Having a Baby was published in 1984 and featured a chapter by Steel about suffering through miscarriage she also published a book of poetry, Love: Poems. Steel has also written a series of 10 illustrated books for young readers, known as the “Max and Martha” series, which aim to help children face real life problems: new baby, new school, loss of loved one, etc. In addition, Steel has authored the “Freddie” series. These four books address other real life situations: first night away from home, trip to the doctor, etc.

In 1993 Steel sued a writer who intended to disclose in her book that her son Nick was adopted by her then-current husband John Traina, despite the fact that adoption records are sealed in California. A San Francisco judge made a highly unusual ruling allowing the seal on Nick’s adoption to be overturned, although he was still a minor and the book was allowed to be published. Nicholas Traina, tragically committed suicide in 1997. Traina was the lead singer of San Francisco punk bands Link 80 and Knowledge. To honor his memory, Steel wrote the nonfiction book His Bright Light, about Nick’s life and death. Proceeds of the book, which reached the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List were used to found the Nick Traina Foundation, which Steel runs, to fund organizations dedicated to treating mental illness. To gain more recognition for children’s mental illnesses, Steel has lobbied for legislation in Washington, and previously held a fundraiser every two years (known as The Star Ball) in San Francisco.

In 1998 Steel married for a fifth time, to Silicon Valley financier Thomas Perkins, but the marriage ended after four years in 2002. Steel has said that her novel The Klone and I was inspired by a private joke between herself and Perkins.In 2006, Perkins dedicated his novel Sex and the Single Zillionaire to Steel. In 2003 Steel opened an art gallery in San Francisco, Steel Gallery, exhibitting contemporary work together with paintings and sculptures of emerging artists. The gallery closed in 2007. She continues to curate shows a few times a year for the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco. In 2002, Steel was decorated by the French government as an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, for her contributions to world culture. She has also received the Induction into the California Hall of Fame, The. Distinguished Service in Mental Health Award” (first time awarded to a non-physician) from New York Presbyterian Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and Columbia University Medical School and Cornell Medical College, The “Outstanding Achievement Award” for work with adolescents from Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. The “Service to Youth Award” for improving the lives of mentally ill adolescents and children from the University of San Francisco Catholic Youth Organization and St. Mary’s Medical Center, November 1999. The “Outstanding Achievement Award” in Mental Health from the California Psychiatric Association Distinguished Service Award” from the American Psychiatric Association and launched a new perfume, Danielle by Danielle Steel With Elizabeth Arden. Many of Steel’s novels have also been adapted for film and television.

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Sir Walter Scott FRSE

Scottish historical novelist, playwright, poet and historian. Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet FRSE was born 15 August 1771 inCollege Wynd, Edinburgh, near the gates of theUniversity of Edinburgh (Old College). A childhood bout of polio in 1773 left him lame And had a significant effect on his life and writing. To alleviate his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Scottish Borders at his paternal grandparents’ farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and folklore of the Scottish Borders. Scott sometimes travelled with his father from Selkirk to Melrose, where some of his novels are set. At a certain spot the old gentleman would stop the carriage and take his son to a stone on the site of the Battle of Melrose. His father was a member of a cadet branch of the Scotts Clan, and his mother descended from the Haliburton family, the descent from whom granted Walter’s family the hereditary right of burial in Dryburgh Abbey. Via the Haliburton family, Walter was a cousin of the pre-eminent contemporaneous property developer James Burton, who was a Haliburton who had shortened his surname, and of his son, the architect Decimus Burton. In 1775 he returned to Edinburgh, then went with his aunt Jenny to take spa treatment at Prestonpans, Bath in England, and they lived at 6 South Parade between 1775 and 1776.

In 1778, Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education and joined his family in their new house built as one of the first in George Square. In 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh (in High School Yards). He was now well able to walk and explore the city and the surrounding countryside. His reading included chivalric romances, poems, history and travel books. He was given private tuition by James Mitchell in arithmetic and writing, and learned from him the history of the Church of Scotland with emphasis on the Covenanters. After finishing school he was sent to stay for six months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local grammar school where he met James and John Ballantyne, who later became his business partners and printed his books.

In 1783 Scott began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh at the age of 12. In March 1786 he began an apprenticeship in his father’s office to become a Writer to the Signet. While at the university Scott had become a friend of Adam Ferguson, the son of Professor Adam Ferguson who hosted literary salons. Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock, who lent him books and introduced him to James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle of poems. During the winter of 1786–87 the 15-year-old Scott saw Robert Burns at one of these salons, for what was to be their only meeting. When Burns noticed a print illustrating the poem “The Justice of the Peace” and asked who had written the poem, only Scott knew that it was by John Langhorne, and was thanked by Burn When it was decided that he would become a lawyer, he returned to the university to study law, first taking classes in Moral Philosophy and Universal History in 1789–90. After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh. As a lawyer’s clerk he made his first visit to the Scottish Highlands directing an eviction. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1792. He had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of Fettercairn, who married Scott’s friend Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet.

Scott became fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders. He was an obsessive collector of stories, and developed an innovative method of recording what he heard at the feet of local story-tellers using carvings on twigs, to avoid the disapproval of those who believed that such stories were neither for writing down nor for printing. At the age of 25 he began to write professionally, translating works from German, his first publication being rhymed versions of ballads by Gottfried August Bürger in 1796. He then published an idiosyncratic three-volume set of collected ballads of his adopted home region, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. This was the first sign from a literary standpoint of his interest in Scottish history. Due to his early polio infection, Scott had a pronounced limp. He was described in 1820 as tall, neither fat nor thin, with forehead very high, nose short, upper lip long and face rather fleshy, complexion fresh and clear, eyes very blue, shrewd and penetrating, with hair now silvery white. Scott enlisted as a volunteer in the 1st Lothian and Border yeomanry.

On a trip to the Lake District with old college friends he met Charlotte Charpentier (or Carpenter), daughter of Jean Charpentier of Lyon in France, and ward of Lord Downshire in Cumberland, an Episcopalian, Scott proposed and they were married on Christmas Eve 1797 in St Mary’s Church, Carlisle. After renting a house in George Street, they moved to nearby South Castle Street. They had five children, of whom four survived by the time of Scott’s death, most baptized by an Episcopalian clergyman. In 1799 he was appointed Sheriff-Depute of the County of Selkirk, based in the Royal Burgh of Selkirk.

After their third son was born in 1801, they moved to 39 North Castle Street. This remained Scott’s base in Edinburgh until 1826, when he could no longer afford two homes. From 1798 Scott had spent the summers in a cottage at Lasswade, where he entertained guests including literary figures, and it was there that his career as an author began. While working as Sheriff-Depute he stayed at a local inn. In 1804 he ended his use of the Lasswade cottage and leased the substantial house of Ashestiel, 6 miles (9.7 km) from Selkirk on the south bank of the River Tweed,

In 1796, Scott’s friend James Ballantyne founded a printing press in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. Through Ballantyne, Scott was able to publish his first works, including “Glenfinlas” and “The Eve of St. John”, and his poetry then began to bring him to public attention. In 1805, The Lay of the Last Minstrel captured wide public imagination, and his career as a writer was established in spectacular fashion.
Over the next decade He published many other poems, including The Lady of the Lake, printed in 1810 and set in the Trossachs. Portions of the German translation of this work were set to music by Franz Schubert. One of these songs, “Ellens dritter Gesang”, is popularly labelled as “Schubert’s Ave Maria”. Beethoven’s opus 108 “Twenty-Five Scottish Songs” includes 3 folk songs whose words are by Walter Scott. The poem Marmion, was published in 1808. In 1809 Scott persuaded James Ballantyne and his brother to move to Edinburgh and to establish their printing press there. He became a partner in their business. As a political conservative, Scott helped to found the Tory Quarterly Review, a review journal to which he made several anonymous contributions. Scott was also a contributor to the Edinburgh Review, which espoused Whig views.

Scott was ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Duddington and sat in the General Assembly for a time as representative elder of the burgh of Selkirk. When the lease of Ashestiel expired in 1811, Scott bought Cartley Hole Farm, on the south bank of the River Tweed nearer Melrose, which was nicknamed “Clarty Hole”, (Ewwwww!🤣) and when Scott built a family cottage there in 1812 he named it “Abbotsford”. He continued to expand the estate, and built Abbotsford House in a series of extensions. In 1813 Scott was offered the position of Poet Laureate. He declined, and the position went to Scott’s friend, Robert Southey

Scott wrote and published his first novel, Waverley, in 1814. It was a tale of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Its English protagonist, Edward Waverley, like Don Quixote a great reader of romances, has been brought up by his Tory uncle, who is sympathetic to Jacobitism, although Edward’s own father is a Whig. The youthful Waverley obtains a commission in the Whig army and is posted in Dundee. On leave, he meets his uncle’s friend, the Jacobite Baron Bradwardine and is attracted to the Baron’s daughter Rose. On a visit to the Highlands, Edward overstays his leave and is arrested and charged with desertion but is rescued by the Highland chieftain Fergus MacIvor and his mesmerizing sister Flora, whose devotion to the Stuart cause, “as it exceeded her brother’s in fanaticism, excelled it also in purity”. Through Flora, Waverley meets Bonnie Prince Charlie, and under her influence goes over to the Jacobite side and takes part in the Battle of Prestonpans. He escapes retribution, however, after saving the life of a Whig colonel during the battle. Waverley (whose surname reflects his divided loyalties) eventually decides to lead a peaceful life of establishment respectability under the House of Hanover rather than live as a proscribed rebel. He chooses to marry the beautiful Rose Bradwardine, rather than cast his lot with the sublime Flora MacIvor, who, after the failure of the ’45 rising, retires to a French convent.

There followed a succession of novels over the next five years, each with a Scottish historical setting , including Tales of my Landlord and The Bride of Lammermoor. This was afictionalized version of an actual incident in the history of the Dalrymple family that took place in the Lammermuir Hills in 1669. The novel concerns the Wealthy Lucie Ashton and the nobly born but now dispossessed and impoverished Edgar Ravenswood exchange vows. But the Ravenswoods and the wealthy Ashtons, who now own the former Ravenswood lands, are enemies, and Lucie’s mother forces her daughter to break her engagement to Edgar and marry the wealthy Sir Arthur Bucklaw with tragic results. In 1821, French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix painted a portrait depicting himself as the melancholy, disinherited Edgar Ravenswood. The prolonged, climactic coloratura mad scene for Lucia in Donizetti’s 1835 bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor is based on events in the the Bride of Lammermuir.

Tales of my Landlord includes the now highly regarded novel Old Mortality, set in 1679–89 against the backdrop of the ferocious anti-Covenanting campaign of the Tory Graham of Claverhouse, subsequently made Viscount Dundee (called “Bluidy Clavers” but dubbed “Bonnie Dundee” by Scott). The Covenanters were presbyterians who had supported the Restoration of Charles II on promises of a Presbyterian settlement, but he had instead reintroduced Episcopalian church government with draconian penalties for Presbyterian worship. This led to the destitution of around 270 ministers who had refused to take an oath of allegiance and submit themselves to bishops, and who continued to conduct worship among a remnant of their flock in caves and other remote country spots. The relentless persecution of these conventicles and attempts to break them up by military force had led to open revolt. The story is told from the point of view of Henry Morton, a moderate Presbyterian, who is unwittingly drawn into the conflict and barely escapes summary execution.

In writing Old Mortality Scott drew upon the knowledge he had acquired from his researches into ballads on the subject for The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.[Scott’s background as a lawyer also informed his perspective, for at the time of the novel, which takes place before the Act of Union of 1707, English law did not apply in Scotland, and afterwards Scotland has continued to have its own Scots law as a hybrid legal system. A recent critic, who is a legal as well as a literary scholar, argues that Old Mortality not only reflects the dispute between Stuart’s absolute monarchy and the jurisdiction of the courts, but also invokes a foundational moment in British sovereignty, namely, the Habeas Corpus Act (also known as the Great Writ), passed by the English Parliament in 1679.

Scott’s next novel, Ivanhoe, is an entertaining escapist romance, with a political subtext which is set in 12th-century England during the era of the creation of the Magna Carta, which political conservatives like Walter Scott and Edmund Burke regarded as rooted in immemorial British custom and precedent. This novel was Based partly on Hume’s History of England and the ballad cycle of Robin Hood, Ivanhoe was quickly translated into many languages and inspired countless imitations and theatrical adaptations. Ivanhoe depicts the cruel tyranny of the Norman overlords (Norman Yoke) over the impoverished Saxon populace of England, with two of the main characters, Rowena and Locksley (Robin Hood), representing the dispossessed Saxon aristocracy and end up being captured and imprisoned by a Norman baron. Ivanhoe was published when the English Parliament, fearful of French-style revolution in the aftermath of Waterloo, had passed the Habeas Corpus Suspension acts of 1817 and 1818 and other extremely draconian measures.

Ivanhoe was also remarkable in its sympathetic portrayal of Jewish characters: Rebecca, considered by many critics the book’s real heroine, does not in the end get to marry Ivanhoe, whom she loves, but Scott allows her to remain faithful to her own religion, rather than having her convert to Christianity. Likewise, her father, Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, is shown as a victim rather than a villain. In Ivanhoe, which is one of Scott’s Waverley novels, religious and sectarian fanatics are the villains, while the eponymous hero is a bystander who must weigh the evidence and decide where to take a stand. Scott’s positive portrayal of Judaism, which reflects his humanity and concern for religious toleration, also coincided with a contemporary movement for the Emancipation of the Jews in England.

Scott’s fame grew as his explorations and interpretations of Scottish history and society captured popular imagination. Impressed by this, the Prince Regent (the future George IV) permitted Scott to search for the Crown Jewels (“Honours of Scotland”). Which had been hidden away, but had subsequently been used to crown Charles II. They were not used to crown subsequent monarchs, but were regularly taken to sittings of Parliament, to represent the absent monarch, until the Act of Union 1707. When they were stored in Edinburgh Castle, but the large locked box in which they were stored was not opened for more than 100 years, and stories circulated that they had been “stolen”. So In 1818, Scott and a small team of military men opened the box, and “unearthed” the honours from the Crown Room in the depths of Edinburgh Castle. A grateful Prince Regent granted Scott the title of baronet, and in March 1820 he received the baronetcy in London, becoming Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet.

After George’s accession to the throne, the city council of Edinburgh invited Scott, at the King’s behest, to stage-manage the 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland. Scott created a spectacular pageant, designed not only to impress the King, but also in some way to heal the rifts that had destabilised Scots society. The King was dressed in tartan, and was greeted by his people, many of whom were also dressed in similar tartan ceremonial dress. This form of dress, proscribed after the 1745 rebellion against the English, became one of the seminal, potent and ubiquitous symbols of Scottish identity.

Although he continued to be extremely popular and widely read, Scott’s critical reputation declined in the last half of the 19th century as serious writers turned from romanticism to realism, and Scott began to be regarded as an author suitable for children. This trend accelerated in the 20th century. In his study Aspects of the Novel E. M. Forster harshly criticized Scott’s clumsy and slapdash writing style, “flat” characters, and thin plots. In contrast, the novels of Scott’s contemporary Jane Austen, once appreciated only by the discerning few (including, Scott himself) became more popular. Nevertheless, Scott’s importance as an innovator continued to be recognized. He was acclaimed as the inventor of the genre of the modern historical novel. Scott’s Waverley novels played a significant part in the movement (begun with James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle) in rehabilitating the public perception of the Scottish Highlands and its culture, which was formerly suppressed as barbaric, and viewed in the southern mind as a breeding ground of hill bandits, religious fanaticism, and Jacobite rebellions.

Scott served as chairman of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was also a member of the Royal Celtic Society. His own contribution to the reinvention of Scottish culture was enormous. It is a testament to Scott’s contribution in creating a unified identity for Scotland that Edinburgh’s central railway station, opened in 1854 by the North British Railway, is called Waverley. The fact that Scott was a Lowland Presbyterian, rather than a Gaelic-speaking Catholic Highlander, made him more acceptable to a conservative English readers. At the time Scott wrote, Scotland was poised to move away from an era of socially divisive clan warfare to a modern world of literacy and industrial capitalism. Through novels such as Waverley Scott helped Scotland move on from the violent religious and political conflicts of the country’s recent past. Scott’s advocacy of objectivity and moderation and his strong repudiation of political violence on either side also had a strong, though unspoken, contemporary resonance when many conservative English feared a violent revolution in Britain. Scott’s involvement in King George IV’s visit to Scotland, in 1822, was a pivotal event intended to inspire a view of his home country that, in his view, accentuated the positive aspects of the past allowing a peaceful future. A revival of critical interest began from the 1960s. Postmodern tastes were more favourable to Scott’s work than Modernist tastes. Scott is now seen as an important innovator and a key figure in the development of Scottish and world literature, and particularly as the principal inventor of the historical novel.

Walter Scott sadly died on 21 September 1832. Scott was buried in Dryburgh Abbey, where his wife had earlier been interred. Nearby is a large statue of William Wallace, one of Scotland’s many romanticised historical figures. Abbotsford later gave its name to the Abbotsford Club, founded in 1834 in memory of Sir Walter Scott. All of his novels including Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor continue to remain popular and many have been adapted for film and television. Besides his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession, and throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire. He was also A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society and served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–32).

Scott is memorialised at The Scott Monument on Edinburgh’s Princes Street and the Scott Monument in Glasgow’s George Square. During his lifetime, Scott’s portrait was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer and fellow Scots Sir Henry Raeburn and James Eckford Lauder. Scott is also commemorated on a stone slab in Makars’ Court, outside The Writers’ Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, along with other prominent Scottish writers; quotes from his work are also visible on the Canongate Wall of the Scottish Parliament building in Holyrood. There is a tower dedicated to his memory on Corstorphine Hill in the west of the city and, as mentioned, Edinburgh’s Waverley railway station takes its name from one of his novels. The annual Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction was created in 2010 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Sir Walter Scott. At £25,000, it is one of the largest prizes in British literature.

The award has been presented at Scott’s historic home, Abbotsford House. Scott has been credited with rescuing the Scottish banknote. In 1826, there was outrage in Scotland at the attempt of Parliament to prevent the production of banknotes of less than five pounds. Scott wrote a series of letters to the Edinburgh Weekly Journal under the pseudonym “Malachi Malagrowther” campaigning to allow Scottish banks to issue their own banknotes. During and immediately after World War I there was a movement spearheaded by President Woodrow Wilson and other eminent people to encourage patriotism in American school children, especially immigrants, and to stress the American connection with the Literature of Great Britain and. Scott’s Ivanhoe continued to be required reading for many American high school students until the end of the 1950s. His influence on other European and American novelists is profound, and his reputation remains secure.

Stieg Larsson

Swedish journalist and writer “Stieg” Larsson was Born 15 August 1954. He is best known for writing the “Millennium series” of crime novels, which were published posthumously. Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism. He was the second best-selling author in the world for 2008, behind Khaled Hosseini. By December 2011, his “Millennium series” had sold 65 million copies; its last part, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, became the most sold book in the United States in 2010.Larsson’s first efforts at fiction writing were not in the genre of crime, but rather science fiction. An avid science fiction reader from an early age, he became active in Swedish science fiction fandom around 1971, co-edited with Rune Forsgren his first fanzine, Sfären, in 1972, and attended his first science fiction convention, SF•72, in Stockholm. Through the 1970s, Larsson published around 30 additional fanzine issues; after his move to Stockholm in 1977 he became active in the Scandinavian SF Society where he was a board member in 1978 and 1979, and chairman in 1980.

Between 1972 and 1974, he published a handful of early short stories in his first fanzines, while submitting others to other semi-professional or amateur magazines. SwedenHe was co-editor or editor of several science fiction fanzines, including Sfären and FIJAGH!; in 1978–1979 he was president of the largest Swedish science fiction fan club, Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction (SFSF). An account of this period in Larsson’s life, along with detailed information on his fanzine writing and short stories, is included in the biographical essays written by Larsson’s friend John-Henri Holmberg in The Tattooed Girl, by Holmberg with Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, 2011.In early June 2010, manuscripts for two such stories, as well as fanzines with one or two others, were noted in the Swedish National Library (to which this material had been donated a few years earlier, mainly by the Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Foundation, which works to further science fiction fandom in Sweden). This discovery of what was called “unknown” works by Larsson also caused considerable excitement.

while working as a photographer, Larsson became engaged in far-left political activism. He became a member of Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers’ League), edited the Swedish Trotskyist journal Fjärde internationalen, journal of the Swedish section of the Fourth International. He also wrote regularly for the weekly Internationalen. Larsson spent parts of 1977 in Eritrea, training a squad of female Eritrean People’s Liberation Front guerrillas in the use of grenade launchers, but became ill and was forced to return to Sweden, Upon his return to Sweden, he worked as a graphic designer at the largest Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. Larsson’s political convictions, as well as his journalistic experiences, led him to found the Swedish Expo Foundation, similar to the British Searchlight Foundation, established to “counteract the growth of the extreme right and the white power-culture in schools and among young people.” He also became the editor of the foundation’s magazine, Expo, in 1995.When he was not at his day job, he worked on independent research of right-wing extremism in Sweden. In 1991, his research resulted in his first book Extremhögern (Extreme Right). Larsson quickly became instrumental in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organizations; he was an influential debater and lecturer on the subject, reportedly living for years under death threats from his political enemies. The political party Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) was a major subject of his research.

However soon after Larsson’s death, the manuscripts of three completed, but unpublished, novels – written as a series – were discovered. He had written them for his own pleasure after returning home from his job in the evening, and had made no attempt to get them published until shortly before his death. The first was published in Sweden in 2005 as Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – literally – Men who hate women. It was titled for the English-language market as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and published in the United Kingdom in February 2008. It was awarded the Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel in 2005. His second novel, Flickan som lekte med elden (The Girl Who Played with Fire), received the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2006, and was published in the United Kingdom in January 2009. The third novel in the Millennium series, Luftslottet som sprängdes (“The air castle that was blown up”), published in English as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, was published in the United Kingdom in October 2009, and the United States in May 2010. Larsson left about three quarters of a fourth novel on a notebook computer, now possessed by his partner, Eva Gabrielsson: synopses or manuscripts of the fifth and sixth in the series, which he intended to contain an eventual total of ten books, may also exist. Gabrielsson has stated in her book, “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg Larsson and Me (2011) that finishing the book is a task that she is capable of doing.

The Swedish film production company Yellow Bird has produced film versions of the Millennium series, co-produced with the Danish film production company Nordisk Film, which were released in Scandinavia in 2009. Larsson Sadly passed away on 9 November 2004 in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a heart attack after climbing seven flights of stairs to his office because the lift was not working. There were rumours that his death was in some way induced, because of death threats received as editor of Expo, but these have been denied by Eva Gedin, his Swedish publisher. Stieg Larsson is interred at the Högalid church cemetery in the district of Södermalm in Stockholm. Novellist David Lagencrantz has written further novels “The Girl in the Spiders Web” and “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” which is due for release in 2017, both of which continue the Millenium Saga and remain faithful to Steig Larsson’s original novels.

E. Nesbit

English author and poet Edith Nesbit was born 15th August 1858. She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co founoded the Fabian Society, a precursor to the modern Labour Party.Nesbit published approximately 40 books for children, including novels, collections of stories and picture books. Collaborating with others, she published almost as many more. Nesbit was “the first modern writer for children”and unlike authors such asLewis Carroll, George MacDonald and Kenneth Grahame, who turned away from tough truths, Nesbit dealt with things-as-they-are, previously the province of adult novels.” Nesbit is also credited with having invented the children’s adventure story. Noël Coward was a great admirer of hers and, in a letter to an early biographer Noel Streatfeild, wrote “she had an economy of phrase, and an unparalleled talent for evoking hot summer days in the English countryside.”

Among Nesbit’s best-known books are The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1898) and The Railway Children. This concerns a family who move to “Three Chimneys”, a house near the railway, after the father, who works at the Foreign office, is imprisoned after being falsely accused of spying. The children befriend an Old Gentleman who regularly takes the 9:15 train near their home; he is eventually able to help prove their father’s innocence, and the family is reunited. The family also take care of a Russian exile, Mr Szczepansky, who came to England looking for his family (later located) and Jim, the grandson of the Old Gentleman, who suffers a broken leg in a tunnel. The theme of an innocent man being falsely imprisoned for espionage and finally vindicated might have been influenced by the Dreyfus Affair, which was a prominent worldwide news item a few years before the book was written. And the Russian exile, persecuted by the Tsars for writing “a beautiful book about poor people and how to help them” and subsequently helped by the children, was most likely an amalgam of the real-life dissidents Sergius Stepniak and Peter Kropotkin who were both friends of the author.

The Railway Children was also adapted into 1970 British drama film based on the novel by E. Nesbit. The film was directed by Lionel Jeffries, and stars Dinah Sheridan, Jenny Agutter (who had earlier featured in the successful BBC’s 1968 dramatisation of the novel), Sally Thomsett and Bernard Cribbins in leading roles. The film was released to cinemas in the United Kingdom on 21 December 1970. The film rights were bought by Lionel Jeffries. It was his directorial debut, and he was also responsible for writing the screenplay for the film. The Railway Children turned out to be a critical success, both at the time of its release and in later years. It has gone on to gain a place in several surveys of the greatest films ever made, including surveys conducted by the British Film Institute and Total Film magazine. The Railway Children was later remade with Jenny Agutter playing the Mother of the three children.

Nesbitt also wrote The Wouldbegoods (1899), which recount stories about the Bastables, a middle class family that has fallen on relatively hard times. The Railway Children is also extremely well known. Her children’s writing also included numerous plays and collections of verse.She created an innovative body of work that combined realistic, contemporary children in real-world settings with magical objects – what would now be classed as contemporary fantasy – and adventures and sometimes travel to fantastic worlds. In doing so, she was a direct or indirect influence on many subsequent writers, including P. L. Travers (author of Mary Poppins), Edward Eager, Diana Wynne Jones and J. K. Rowling. C. S. Lewis wrote of her influence on his Narnia series and mentions the Bastable children in The Magician’s Nephew. Michael Moorcock would go on to write a series of steampunk novels with an adult Oswald Bastable (of The Treasure Seekers) as the lead character. Nesbit also wrote books for adults, including eleven novels, short stories and four collections of horror stories. Edith Nesbit sadly passed away on 4 May 1924, but has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some great novels and Poems which continue to remain popular. Her novel The Railway Children has also been adapted for film and Television numerous times.

Wizard of Oz

The musical fantasy film the Wizard of Oz was released On 15 August 1939. It was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.The film stars Judy Garland; Terry the dog, billed as Toto; Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, with Charley Grapewin and Clara Blandick, and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins, with Pat Walshe as leader of the flying monkeys.

The Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy Gale who finds herself swept up on an magical adventure after a tornado transports her house in Kansas to the magical land of Oz which is inhabited by Witches, Wizards, Fairies, talking Animals and other semtient beings. Here she encounters the diminutive local Munchkins and the Good Fairy Glinda and asks them how to get home. They suggest asking the Wizard of Oz to help, who lives in the Emerald City. so she must travel the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City where the Wizard of Oz lives. Along the way she encounters the Tin-man a Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, who for reasons of their own, all agree to accompany her to the Emerald City.

Meanwhile the evil Wicked Witch of the West is also after Dorothy because she inadvertantly killed the Witches’ sister “Elphaba” when the house landed in Oz, This angers the Wicked witch of the West and she continually tries to clobber Dorothy and the others and stop them reaching the Emerald City. Until eventually the Witches’ Flying Monkey servants successfully manage to kidnap one of the group along the way so they must all journey to the evil witches castle and mount a daring rescue attempt before defeating the Wicked Witch once and for all before  travelling to the Emerald City in order to return to Kansas.

The film is Notable for its use of Technicolor during a time when all other films were black and white, its fantasy storytelling, musical score and unusual characters. Over the years it has become one of the best known of all films and has become part of American popular culture. It also featured in cinema what may be for the time the most elaborate use of character make-ups and special effects. Despite this It was not a box office success on its initial release, earning only $3,017,000 on a $2,777,000 budget, despite receiving largely positive reviews Wizard of Oz did not recoup much of the studio’s investment until subsequent re-releases when it was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture but lost out to Gone with the Wind. It did however win in two other categories including Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow.” The song was ranked first in two list: the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs and the Recording Industry Association of America’s “365 Songs of the Century”.

The 1956 Television broadcasts of the film re-introduced the film to the public and subsequent broadcasts have made it an annual tradition staple and one of the most known films in cinema history. The film was named the most viewed motion picture on television syndication in history by the Library of Congress who also included the film in its National Film Registry in its inaugural year in 1989. Designation on the registry calls for efforts to preserve it for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”. It is often included in the Top 10 Best Movies of All Time by critics’ and public polls. It is the source of many quotes referenced in modern popular culture. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. The songs were by Edgar “Yip” Harburg (lyrics) and Harold Arlen (music). The incidental music, based largely on the songs, was composed by Herbert Stothart, with interspersed renderings from classical composers.

H. G. Wells

English science-fiction author, Herbert George “H. G.” Wells sadly passed away on 13 August 1946 in London, aged 79. He was born 21st September 1866 in Bromley, Kent. He is best known for his work in the science fiction genre but also wrote contemporary novels about, history, politics and social commentary, as well as textbooks and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction”. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau & his earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context.

Wells became interested in literature after an accident in 1874 left Him with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the local library, brought to him by his father. He soon became devoted to the other worlds and lives to which books gave him access; they also stimulated his desire to write. In 1874 he entered Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy, until 1880. From 1880 to 1883, Wells had an apprenticeship as a draper at the Southsea Drapery Emporium. This later inspired the novels The Wheels of Chance and Kipps, which portray the life of a draper’s apprentice as well as providing a critique of society’s distribution of wealth. In October 1879 Wells joined the National School at Wookey in Somerset as a pupil-teacher. After a short apprenticeship at a chemist in nearby Midhurst, and an even shorter stay as a boarder at Midhurst Grammar School, Who offered him the opportunity to become a pupil-teacher, where his proficiency in Latin and science enabled him to continue his self-education in earnest. In 1880 Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science (later the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, now part of Imperial College London) in London,

Studying biology under Thomas Henry Huxley (Who was an English biologist known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution) and also entered the Debating Society of the school. Whilst at the Imperial College he read The Republic by Plato, whose ideas interested him. He also turned to contemporary ideas of socialism as expressed by the recently formed Fabian Society and free lectures delivered at Kelmscott House, the home of William Morris. He also helped establish the Science School Journal, which allowed him to express his views on literature and society, as well as trying his hand at fiction: the first version of his novel The Time Machine was published in the journal under the title, The Chronic Argonauts. Wells also entered the College of Preceptors (College of Teachers). He later received his Licentiate and Fellowship FCP diplomas from the College. Wells earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of London External Programme, In 1889–90 he managed to find a post as a teacher at Henley House School where he taught A. A. Milne.

Wells’s first non-fiction bestseller was Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought. Some of his early novels, invented a number of themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon, and wrote dozens of short stories and novellas, the best known of which is “The Country of the Blind” (1904) ands some of these also inspired Science Fiction Television- His short story “The New Accelerator” was also the inspiration for the Star Trek episode Wink of an Eye. Wells also wrote non fiction novels which received critical acclaim, including Kipps, Tono-Bungay, The Outline of History, A Short History of the World, The Science of Life and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind and wrote a number of Utopian novels including A Modern Utopia, which usually begin with the rushing to catastrophe, until a solution is found – such as abandoning war (In the Days of the Comet) or having a world council of scientists taking over, as in The Shape of Things to Come, which was later adapted for the 1936 Alexander Korda film, Things to Come. Wells also contemplated the ideas of nature versus nurture and questions humanity in books such as The Island of Doctor Moreau, where a person discovers an island of animals being vivisected unsuccessfully into human beings, and tries to escape,

In 1936, Wells called for the compilation of a constantly growing and changing World Encyclopaedia, to be reviewed by outstanding authorities and made accessible to every human being. In 1938, he published a collection of essays on the future organisation of knowledge and education, World Brain, including the essay, “The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia”. Seeking a more structured way to play war games, Wells also wrote Floor Games followed by Little Wars which is recognised today as the first recreational wargame and Wells is regarded by gamers and hobbyists as “the Father of Miniature War Gaming”.

He was also an outspoken socialist, often sympathising with pacifist views and becoming increasingly political and often wrote about the ills of Society leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and wrote abundantly about the “New Woman” and the Suffragettes. His most consistent political ideal was the World State, which he considered inevitable. He envisioned the state to be a planned society that would advance science, end nationalism, and allow people to progress by merit rather than birth, Wells also believed in the theory of eugenics and Some contemporary supporters even suggested connections between the degenerate man-creatures portrayed in The Time Machine and Wells’s eugenic beliefs. Wells also brought his interest in Art & Design and politics together which led to the foundation of the Design and Industries Association. In his last book Mind at the End of its Tether he considered the idea that humanity being replaced by another species might not be a bad idea. He also came to call the era “The Age of Frustration”.

During his final years he became particularly outspoken in his criticism of the Catholic Church, he was also a diabetic, and in 1934 co-founded what is now Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people living with diabetes in the UK. On 28 October 1940 Wells was interviewed by Orson Welles, who two years previously had performed an infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, on KTSA radio in San Antonio, Texas. In the interview, Wells admitted his surprise at the widespread panic that resulted from the broadcast, but acknowledged his debt to Welles for increasing sales of one of his “more obscure” titles. In his preface to the 1941 edition of The War in the Air, Wells had stated that his epitaph should be: “I told you so. You damned fools”. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946, his ashes scattered at sea. A commemorative blue plaque in his honour was installed at his home in Regent’s Park.

Many novellists such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. Le Guin, Olaf Stapledon, J. D. Beresford, S. Fowler Wright, and Naomi Mitchison, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, Stephen Baxter, Christopher Priest and Adam Roberts Admire Well’s work and have acknowledged Wells’s influence on their writing. Vladimir Nabokov described Wells as his favourite writer when he was a boy and as “a great artist.” He went on to cite The Passionate Friends, Ann Veronica, The Time Machine, and The Country of the Blind as superior to anything else written by Wells’s British contemporaries. In the United States, Hugo Gernsback reprinted most of Wells’s work in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, regarding Wells’s work as “texts of central importance to the self-conscious new genre”. In Britain.

Alfred Hitchcock

Often “referred to as the “Master of Suspense”, the Prolific British film director and Producer, Alfred Hitchcock KBE, was born 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, London and during a career spanning more than half a century, He pioneered many elements of the suspense and psychological thriller genres. He had a successful career in British cinema with both silent films and early talkies and became renowned as England’s best director.

During his career Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films, many of them psychological thrillers such as North by Northwest, the man who knew too much, Pshycho, Marnie, Rear Window, Rebecca, Jamaica inn, Notorious, Rope, The Birds, Vertigo

Gradually Hitchcock became a highly visible public figure through interviews, movie trailers, cameo appearances in his own films, And he also hosted the television programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965) and Created a recognisable directorial style. Hitchcock’s stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. In addition, he framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative forms of film editing. His work often features fugitives on the run alongside “icy blonde” female characters.

Hitchcock also developed many pioneering techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres during which he created a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.

Alfred Hitchcock sadly passed away 29 April 1980. He has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some fantastic films including Rebecca, Notorious, Saboteur, Spellbound, Psycho, Rope, The Birds, North by Northwest, Marnie, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Frenzy. Hitchcock also received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II In the 1980 New Year Honours and He also came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in The Daily Telegraph, which said of him: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker also described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists. Many of his films still remain popular today and are often shown on television.