Marion Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 - September 25, 1999) was a prolific author of largely feminist fantasy and a steadfast encourager of equality (and quality) in writing. She was the editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors. Although she encouraged in particular young female authors, she was not averse to including males in her anthologies. Mercedes Lackey was just one of many authors who first appeared in the anthologies. She also maintained a large family of writers at her home in Berkeley, California. MZB was editing the final Sword and Sorceress manuscript up until the week of her death.
MZB created the planet of Darkover as a setting for her own fantasy series, writing a large number of Darkover stories as a solo author and later collaborating with other authors to produce Darkover anthologies, where once again she encouraged story submissions from unpublished authors. The earliest Darkover novels were straight fantasy, but later volumes had a science-fiction overtone as Darkover was discovered to be a lost earth colony and recontact was made.
Probably her most famous single novel is The Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the Camelot legend from Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere's) point of view that grew into a series of books, too.
Writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter and Lee Chapman, MZB also produced several gay and lesbian-themed novels in the 60s. Though relatively tame by today's standards, they were considered pornographic when published and MZB refused to disclose the titles.
MZB was married to the renowned numismatist and convicted child molester Walter Breen in 1964. They separated in 1979.
In 1966, MZB became a cofounder of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and she is credited with coining the name of that group.