Bradbury Biographer Delivers Big Read Keynote

Published: September 24, 2014

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside, in collaboration with Kenosha and Racine public libraries, kicks off the Big Read celebration of "Fahrenheit 451" with Ray Bradbury's official biographer, Sam Weller. Weller is the keynote speaker Wednesday evening, Sept. 24, from 7-9 p.m. in the University Ballroom inside the UW-Parkside Student Center.

Wednesday afternoon, Weller leads a small writing workshop with students from Nick Tryling's Advanced Expository Writing class. The class is made up of juniors and seniors earning a writing certificate, and who have a deep interest in starting a writing career. Weller leads another workshop at Parkside Thursday afternoon, Sept. 25, with students Joe Benson's Creative Writing class.

Earlier Thursday, Sept. 25, Weller hosts a creative writing workshop at Walden III High School in Racine for seniors in the AP Literature class. Students will learn about the creative process, and gain insight into one of America's best science fiction writers.

Weller, author of "The Bradbury Chronicles" and official biographer of Ray Bradbury, is the associate chair and associate professor of the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College in Chicago.

As the keynote Wednesday evening, Weller will discuss "Fahrenheit 451," Ray Bradbury and the role of the university in the community. Admission and parking are free. Registration is required. Register through our website: ages are welcome.

In addition to "The Bradbury Chronicles," the companion book, "Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews," was published by Melville House Press in 2010. Weller co-edited the anthology "Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury" (William Morrow Paperbacks, July 2012), winner of the Bram Stoker Award for "Superior Achievement in Anthology."

Weller is the former Midwest Correspondent for Publishers Weekly magazine. He has written for the Paris Review, the National Public Radio Program All Things Considered, and Slate magazine. His short fiction has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the Chicago Tribune, Rosebud, and in Amazon's short story imprint, Story Front. Weller is a frequent lecturer on the life and legacy of Ray Bradbury.

He worked closely with Bradbury for 12 years. In this time, Bradbury dedicated a book to him and deemed him "the son he never had." Weller traveled with Bradbury to the White House in 2004 when Bradbury was given the Medal of Arts Award from President George W. Bush. Sam Weller has given over 250 presentations on Bradbury worldwide. His fourth Bradbury-related book, "Ray Bradbury: The Last Interview" will be published this December.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure and enrichment. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest. UW-Parkside is one of 77 libraries nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2014-June 2015.From September 22nd to October 25th, Kenosha and Racine will celebrate Fahrenheit 451 with a full calendar of events including book discussions, live performances and art openings.

For more information on this event, please contact Parkside Library at (262) 595-2238 or .You also can view a full calendar of events for UW-Parkside Library's Big Read at

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