Robert Ervin Howard was born in Peaster in Texas on January 22, 1906 of Irish American stock. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains and in nearby Brownwood. Serious and intellectual as a child, from age 9 he had determined upon writing adventure fiction as a career. He was also a fan of boxing and spent some of his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. He had no real success as a writer until he was 23 but when it came it ensured his success across a wide variety of genres though his main contribution was the introduction of the culturally iconic 'Conan the Barbarian' and with it he became the undoubted father of the 'sword and scorcery' genre. None of his work during his short life time was ever published in book form, it was always in pulp and serial magazines and usually Weird Tales. Because of his huge output he also assumed several pen names: Patrick Mac Conaire, Steve Costigan, Patrick Ervin, Patrick Howard, Sam Walser. Despite his success Howard committed suicide at the very early age of 30. The reasons have been much speculated upon and include his own mental health allied to his mother's life long battle with tuberculosis. When he learnt that his mother had now slipped into a coma and was not expected to wake he went to his car and shot himself in the head. it was June 11th, 1936.