Arthur Charles Clarke was born on December 16 1917 at Minehead, Somerset, and educated at Huish's Grammar School, Taunton, where he produced his first efforts at fiction for the school journal, under the watchful eye of the English master, Captain EB Mitford (to whom Clarke would later dedicate his collection The Nine Billion Names of God).
He also lent his name to such potboilers as Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious Worlds and Arthur C Clarke's World of Strange Powers, which sprang from television series in the 1980s.
Arthur Charles Clarke was born to an English farming family in the seaside town of Minehead, in the county of Somerset in southwestern England, on December 16, 1917. As a child, he enjoyed stargazing and reading American science fiction magazines, which sparked his lifelong enthusiasm for space sciences. After moving to London in 1936, Clarke was able to pursue his interest further by joining the British Interplanetary Society (BIS.) He worked with astronautic material in the Society, contributed to the BIS Bulletin, and began writing science fiction.
He himself sponsored the Arthur C Clarke Award for the best sf book published in Britain each year. The prize was £2001, until that year; thereafter the money rose annually by £1. This year's award will be announced on April 30.