- NAME: William Golding
- OCCUPATION: Author
- BIRTH DATE: September 19, 1911
- DEATH DATE: June 19, 1993
- EDUCATION: Marlborough Grammar School, Brasenose College, Oxford
- PLACE OF BIRTH: St. Columb Minor, Newquay, Cornwall, England
- PLACE OF DEATH: Perranarworthal, Cornwall, England
- Full Name: Sir William Gerald Golding
- AKA: William Golding
Best Known For
British novelist William Golding wrote the critically acclaimed classic Lord of the Flies, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.
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William Golding was born September 19, 1911, in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England. In 1935 he started teaching English and philosophy in Salisbury. He temporarily left teaching in 1940 to join the Royal Navy. In 1954 he published his first novel, Lord of the Flies. In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. On June 19, 1993, he died in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, England.
"I am not a theologian or a philosopher. I am a storyteller."
"...man produces evil as a bee produces honey."
"I'd rather there wasn't an afterlife, really. I'd much rather not be me for thousands of years..."
William Golding was born on September 19, 1911, in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England. He was raised in a 14th-century house next door to a graveyard. His mother, Mildred, was an active suffragette who fought for women’s right to vote. His father, Alex, worked as a schoolmaster.
William received his early education at the school his father ran, Marlborough Grammar School. When William was just 12 years old, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to write a novel. A frustrated child, he found an outlet in bullying his peers. Later in life, William would describe his childhood self as a brat, even going so far as to say, “I enjoyed hurting people.”
After primary school, William went on to attend Brasenose College at Oxford University. His father hoped he would become a scientist, but William opted to study English literature instead. In 1934, a year before he graduated, William published his first work, a book of poetry aptly entitled Poems. The collection was largely overlooked by critics.
After college, Golding worked in settlement houses and the theater for a time. Eventually, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. In 1935 Golding took a position teaching English and philosophy at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury. Golding’s experience teaching unruly young boys would later serve as inspiration for his novel Lord of the Flies.
Although passionate about teaching from day one, in 1940 Golding temporarily abandoned the profession to join the Royal Navy and fight in World War II.
Golding spent the better part of the next six years on a boat, except for a seven-month stint in New York, where he assisted Lord Cherwell at the Naval Research Establishment. While in the Royal Navy, Golding developed a lifelong romance with sailing and the sea.
During World War II, he fought battleships at the sinking of the Bismarck, and also fended off submarines and planes. Lieutenant Golding was even placed in command of a rocket-launching craft.
Of his World War II experiences, Golding has said, “I began to see what people were capable of doing. Anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head.” Like his teaching experience, Golding’s participation in the war would prove to be fruitful material for his fiction.
In 1945, after World War II had ended, Golding went back to teaching and writing.
In 1954, after 21 rejections, Golding published his first and most acclaimed novel, Lord of the Flies.
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