|May 17, 2005
Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or
Renowned American author, essayist and playwright Ray Bradbury will appear at California State University, Bakersfield for “An Evening with Ray Bradbury” on Wednesday, June 1, at 7 p.m. in the Doré Theater.
Bradbury’s talk is sponsored jointly by the CSUB English Department, History Department, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology Department, Theatre Department, Provost’s Office, Kegley Institute of Ethics and Russo’s Books. Refreshments will be served in the Albertson Room adjacent to the theater following his talk.
Bradbury’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will mark his second appearance at CSUB: in 1979 he was the university’s commencement speaker.
His appearance coincides with a new biography, “The Bradbury Chronicles: the Life of Ray Bradbury,” by Sam Weller, and Universal Studios’ soon-to-be-released remake of Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451.”
Merry Pawlowski, CSUB English professor and chair of the English Department, is thrilled to have Bradbury coming to campus. “I hope he’ll talk about the new biography, and the ethics of book-banning (the topic of ‘Fahrenheit 451’),” she said. “It should be quite an evening. He’ll also sign copies of his books at the reception.”
Pawlowski said Bradbury’s talk is the first of what she hopes will be a series of lectures by modern authors. “We want to invite major contemporary writers to speak at our campus and to meet with classes,” she said. “We’re going for writers that we teach, such as Ray Bradbury. We’re very excited about his appearance here, and I think the community will be, too.”
According to his biography on his website, Bradbury was born in 1920 in Waukegan, Ill., and graduated from high school in Los Angeles in 1938.
“Although his formal education ended there,” his web-biography continues, “he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals before publishing a collection of them, ‘Dark Carnival,’ in 1947.
“His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with the publication of ‘The Martian Chronicles’ in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came ‘The Illustrated Man’ and then, in 1953, ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece, a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state.”
Other works include “The October Country,” “Dandelion Wine,” “A Medicine for Melancholy,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “I Sing the Body Electric!,” “Quicker Than the Eye,” “Driving Blind,” and his latest novel, published in 2001, “From the Dust Returned.” In all, Bradbury has published more than 30 books, nearly 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays.
His work has been included in four Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City. He has also been nominated for an Oscar and has won an Emmy.
On his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was 12. In any event, here I am, 80 years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next 10 or 20 years, and I hope you’ll come along."
Bradbury, who was widowed in November 2003 after 56 years of marriage, lives in Los Angeles.