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Best-selling fantasy and sci fi author Neil Gaiman was born in Portchester, Hampshire on this date in 1960. His parents were Jewish Scientologists (a religion based on science fiction writings), and he was a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy throughout his childhood. Gaiman has been awarded Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. His best-known works include The Sandman comic book series and the novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. The six-year Sandman series was "the first extraordinary success as a series of graphic novel collections, reaching out and converting new readers to the medium, particularly young women on college campuses, and making Gaiman himself into an iconic cultural figure," according to Paul Levitz, president of DC Comics. Gaiman has also written for film and television, and Coraline was made into a 2009 animated film that received an Academy Award nomination. He is a First Amendment activist and a key supporter of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Gaiman's readings are attended by thousands of fans, making him the rock star of the science fiction and comic book worlds. To see him delivering a commencement speech, at the University of the Arts, look below.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten." —Neil Gaiman