George R R Martin Biography & Facts
George Raymond Richard Martin (born George Raymond Martin; September 20, 1948), also known as GRRM, is an American novelist, screenwriter, television producer and short story writer. He is the author of the series of epic fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, which were adapted into the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones (2011–2019). He also helped create the Wild Cards anthology series, and contributed worldbuilding for the 2022 video game Elden Ring.
In 2005, Lev Grossman of Time called Martin "the American Tolkien", and in 2011, he was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
George Raymond Martin (he adopted the confirmation name Richard at 13 years old) was born on September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey, the son of longshoreman Raymond Collins Martin and Margaret Brady Martin. His mother's family had once been wealthy, owning a successful construction business, but lost it all in the Great Depression, something Martin was reminded about every day when he passed what used to be his family's dock and house. It made him feel that even if they were poor, they came from greatness that had been taken away from them. He has two younger sisters, Darleen and Janet. His mother was of half Irish ancestry. He also acknowledges French, English, Welsh and German roots, which were confirmed on the television series Finding Your Roots. However, while he also believed he was a quarter Italian because of who he was told was his paternal grandfather, a DNA test on the show confirmed his Irish and other ancestries but excluded any Italian ancestry, showing instead he is approximately a quarter Ashkenazi Jewish.The family first lived in a house on Broadway belonging to Martin's great-grandmother. In 1953, they moved to a federal housing project near the Bayonne docks. During Martin's childhood, his world consisted predominantly of "First Street to Fifth Street", between his grade school and his home; this limited world made him want to travel and experience other places, but the only way of doing so was through his imagination, and he became a voracious reader. Martin began writing and selling monster stories for pennies to other neighborhood children, dramatic readings included. He also wrote stories about a mythical kingdom populated by his pet turtles; the turtles died frequently in their toy castle, so he decided they were killing each other off in "sinister plots". Martin had a habit of starting "endless stories" that he never completed, as they did not turn out as well on paper as he had imagined them.Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and later Marist High School. While there he became an avid comic book fan, developing a strong interest in the superheroes being published by Marvel Comics, and later credited Stan Lee for being one of his greatest literary influences; "Maybe Stan Lee is the greatest literary influence on me, even more than Shakespeare or Tolkien." A letter Martin wrote to the editor of Fantastic Four was printed in issue No. 20 (November 1963); it was the first of many sent, e.g., Fantastic Four #32, #34, and others. Fans who read his letters wrote him letters in turn, and through such contacts, Martin joined the fledgling comics fandom of the era, writing fiction for various fanzines; he bought the first ticket to the world's first Comic-Con, held in New York in 1964. In 1965, Martin won comic fandom's Alley Award for Best Fan Fiction for his prose superhero story "Powerman vs. The Blue Barrier".In 1970, Martin earned a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude; he went on to complete his M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Medill. Eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War, to which he objected, Martin applied for and obtained conscientious objector status; he instead did alternative service work for two years (1972–1974) as a VISTA volunteer, attached to the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation.
Early writing career
Martin began selling science fiction short stories professionally in 1970, at age 21. His first sale was "The Hero", sold to Galaxy magazine and published in its February 1971 issue; other sales soon followed. His first story to be nominated for the Hugo Award and Nebula Awards was "With Morning Comes Mistfall", published in 1973 in Analog magazine. In 1975 his story "...for a single yesterday" about a post-apocalyptic timetripper was selected for inclusion in Epoch, a science fiction anthology edited by Roger Elwood and Robert Silverberg. His first novel, Dying of the Light, was completed in 1976 right before he moved to Dubuque and published in 1977. That same year the enormous success of Star Wars had a huge impact on the publishing industry and science fiction, and he sold the novel for the same amount he would make in three years of teaching.The short stories he was able to sell in his early 20s gave him some profit, but not enough to pay his bills, which prevented him from becoming the full-time writer he wanted to be. The need for a day job occurred simultaneously with the American chess craze which followed Bobby Fischer's victory in the 1972 world chess championship. Martin's own chess skills and experience allowed him to be hired as a tournament director for the Continental Chess Association that ran chess tournaments on the weekends. This gave him a sufficient income, and because the tournaments only ran on Saturdays and Sundays, it allowed him to work as a writer five days a week from 1973 to 1976. When the chess bubble subsequently burst and no longer provided an income, he had become much better established as a writer.
In the mid-1970s, Martin met English professor George Guthridge from Dubuque, Iowa, at a science fiction convention in Milwaukee. Martin persuaded Guthridge (who later said that at that time he despised science fiction and fantasy) not only to give speculative fiction a second look, but to write in the field himself. Guthridge has since been a finalist for the Hugo Award and twice for the Nebula Award for science fiction and fantasy. In 1998, Guthridge and Janet Berliner won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in the Novel for their Children of the Dusk.In turn, Guthridge helped Martin in finding a job at Clarke University (then Clarke College). Martin "wasn't making enough money to stay alive" from writing and the chess tournaments, says Guthridge. From 1976 to 1978, Martin was an English and journalism instructor at Clarke, and he became Writer In Residence at the college from 1978 to 1979.
Concentration on writing
While he enjoyed teaching, the sudden death of friend and fellow author Tom Reamy in late 1977 made Martin reevaluate his own life, and he eventually decided to try to become a full-time writer. When his wife graduated from Clarke in 1979, he resigned from his job, and being tired of the hard winters in D.... Discover the George R R Martin popular books. Find the top 100 most popular George R R Martin books.