Philip K. Dick was a writer of great talent without a post-secondary education (he enrolled in college but dropped out before attending a single class). Over the course of his life he experimented with most psychotropic drugs available and eventually gave himself pancreatic damage by doing so.
He wrote 29 novels and over a hundred short stories, many of which ("Blade Runner", "Total Recall", "Paycheck") were later adapted to movies after his death in the early 80s.
He, like many other artists, lived in poverty for most of his life and was recognized only by a small following, however after his death he has continued to gain notoriety and is, in certain circles, seen as a sort of messiah for the modern age in his unique vision of the changing world.
Philip K. Dick is possibly the greatest writer to come out of the second half of the 20th century.