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Wed, 04.01.1942

Science Fiction writer Samuel Delaney born

Samuel Delaney

*Samuel Delany was born on this date in 1942. He is an African American writer, critic, science fiction novelist, and educator.

From New York City, Samuel Ray Delany JR’s mother, Margaret Carey Boyd Delany was a library clerk in the New York Public Library system. His father, Samuel Ray Delany, Sr. ran the Levy & Delany Funeral Home on 7th Avenue in Harlem, from 1938 until his death in 1960. Civil Rights advocates Sadie and Bessie Delany were his aunts; he used some of their adventures as the basis for Elsie and Corry in "Atlantis: Model 1924", the opening novella in his semi-autobiographical collection Atlantis: Three Tales. His grandfather, Henry Beard Delany, was the first Black Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

He attended the Bronx High School of Science, and in the early 1960s, City College of New York (now City University of New York). His first novel, The Jewels of Aptor, was written when he was nineteen and published in 1962, his work The Fall of the Towers, was completed while he was still twenty-one. The Ballad of Beta-2 was published in 1965. In 1966, Delany won the science fiction Nebula Award for Babel-17 and for The Einstein Intersection in 1967. These works address issues of cultural development and sexual identity. Further Nebula Awards came for Aye, and Gomorrah & hellip, 1968 and Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-precious Stones, 1969. In 1970 and 1971, Delany and then wife, well-known poet Marilyn Hacker, edited a quarterly, QUARK, of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction.

His critical writings, such as The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction 1977, and The American Shore, 1978 earned him the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award. His complex Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand 1984 was regarded as a stylistic breakthrough for the author. In 1988, Delany published his memoir, The Motion of Light in Water and began working at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as professor of Comparative Literature. He has written novels They Fly at Ciron 1993, The Mad Man 1994, and Silent Interviews: On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction, and Some Comics 1994. One year later, Delany wrote Bread and Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York City. Also in 1995, he was the University of Minnesota's Winton Scholar and Edelstein-Keller Visiting Writer in the Creative Writing, Department of English.

Since 2001 he has been a professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he is Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted Delany in 2002.  In 2010 he won the third J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction from the academic Eaton Science Fiction Conference at UCR Libraries. The Science Fiction Writers of America named him its 30th SFWA Grand Master in 2013. Samuel Delaney is African American author whose highly imaginative works address racial and social issues, heroic quests, and the nature of language.

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