William Golding

Author details

July 29, 1911
July 29, 1993

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The winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Literature, William Golding is among the most popular and influential British authors to have emerged in the second half of the twentieth century. Golding's reputation rests primarily upon his first novel, Lord of the Flies (1954), which is consistently regarded as an effective and disturbing portrayal of the fragility of civilization.

Childhood and college years Golding was born in Saint Columb Minor in Cornwall, England, in 1911. His father, Alex, was a schoolmaster, while his mother, Mildred, was active in the Women's Suffrage Movement (the movement for women's right to vote). As a boy, his favorite authors included H. G. Wells (1866–1946), Jules Verne (1828–1905), and Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875–1950). Since the age of seven, Golding had been writing stories, and at the age of twelve he attempted to write a novel.

Golding remained an enthusiastic writer and, upon entering Brasenose College of Oxford University, abandoned his plans to study science, preferring to read English literature. At twenty-two, a year before taking his degree in English, Golding saw his first literary work published—a poetry collection simply titled Poems.

After graduating from Oxford in 1935, Golding continued the family tradition by becoming a …

Books by William Golding