KU News Release

June 6, 2012
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, KU News Service, 785-864-8853

MEDIA ADVISORY: KU faculty available to comment on Ray Bradbury’s career

LAWRENCE – Two University of Kansas faculty members are available to discuss their acquaintance and correspondence with famed author Ray Bradbury, who died today at age 91 after a long illness.

Bradbury was recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.

He had visited KU at least twice in recent years. He drew a full house for his Nov. 17, 1997, lecture at the Lied Center. His lecture competed with a men’s basketball game and a concert by Widespread Panic at Liberty Hall in Lawrence on the same night.

In July 1999, Bradbury was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The hall of fame is jointly sponsored by the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society and KU’s J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction.

KU faculty who had corresponded and met with Ray Bradbury in recent years:

James Gunn, retired professor of English, author and founding director of the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, met Bradbury in Los Angeles and other locations for science fiction conventions as well as at KU. Gunn is available to speak to media by phone at (785) 843-1924 or by email.

Gunn said: “Ray Bradbury lived his own story, one that was as magical as any of the fantasies and science fiction he published, and his enjoyment of his transformation from impressionable child to iconic child-in-adult storyteller was embodied in all his stories and relationships. As few in the field of science fiction have been, he was a bridge between the two cultures — not (C.P.) Snow's science and literature but science fiction and literature. That growing acceptance — 50 years in development — may be symbolized by Ray's essay about his early imprinting with the magic of imagination in this week's science-fiction issue of The New Yorker. He will be missed, but his life will be celebrated.”

John C. Tibbetts, associate professor in film and media studies, had known Bradbury since 1966, visiting in his Los Angeles home as well as on campus. Tibbetts’ video recordings of his interviews with Bradbury are part of the Bradbury Archives. Tibbetts can be reached by phone at (913) 485-1017 or by email.

Tibbetts said: “It’s a sad day. He was with me on my 50th birthday. I have many memories that I would love to share.”

Kansas Public Radio host Kaye McIntyre interviewed Bradbury by phone in 2007 for her hourlong show, KPR Presents, as part of KPR’s partnership with the NEA's The Big Read program in Topeka. The interview, which includes discussion of his novel “Fahrenheit 451,” is available online.


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