• Birth

    born on September 19, 1911, in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England
  • First novel attempt

    12 years old, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to write a novel
  • Attended university

    went on to attend Brasenose College at Oxford University, spent two years studying science, in deference to his father's beliefs, in his third year, however, he switched to the literature program,
  • First work published

    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.
  • Hired as teacher

    took a position teaching English and philosophy at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury
  • Graduation

    1935, he graduated from Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a diploma in education
  • Goes off to war

    temporarily abandoned the profession to join the Royal Navy and fight in World War II
  • Returned to teaching

    after World War II had ended, Golding went back to teaching and writing
  • Published LOTF

    Published LOTF
    after 21 rejections, Golding published his first and most acclaimed novel, Lord of the Flies
  • Became member of a literature society

    granted membership in the Royal Society of Literature
  • Published The Inheritors

    Published The Inheritors
    Golding quickly followed Lord of the Flies with The Inheritors (1955), a depiction of how the violent, deceitful Homo sapiens achieved victory over the gentler Neanderthals. Although this novel is the one readers have the most difficulty understanding, it remained Golding's favorite throughout his life.
  • Published Pincher Martin

    Published Pincher Martin
    Pincher Martin followed in 1956. Like Lord of the Flies, it concerns survival after shipwreck.
  • Published Free Fall

    Unlike his first three novels, Free Fall is told with a first person narrator, an artist named Samuel Mountjoy. The novel takes as a model Dante's La Vita Nuova, a collection of love poems interspersed with Dante's own commentary on the poems. Golding uses the character Mountjoy to comment on the conflict between rationalism and faith.
  • Retired from teaching

    he left Bishop Wordsworth's School to write full time
  • Film was made of LOTF

    the year after Golding retired from teaching, Peter Brook made a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel
  • Published The Spire

    Published The Spire
    Issues of faith are addressed in The Spire (1964) as well. A fourteenth-century Dean of Barchester Cathedral decides that God wants a 400-foot-high spire added to the top of the cathedral, although the cathedral's foundation is not sufficient to hold the weight of the spire. The novel tells the story of the human costs of the spire's construction and the lessons that the Dean learns too late.
  • Became CBE

    he received the honorary designation Commander of the British Empire (CBE)
  • Published The Pyramid

    The Pyramid (1967) provides an examination of English social class within the context of a town ironically named Stilbourne. A primary issue in this story is music, and the novel utilizes the same structure as the musical form sonata.
  • Published The Scorpion God: Three Short Novels

    Each story explores the negative repercussions of technological progress — an idea that was in sharp contrast to the technology worship of the space age. One of the novellas had been originally published in 1956; Golding then turned the story into a comedic play titled The Brass Butterfly, which was first performed in London in 1958.
  • Published Darkness Visible

    It addresses the interdependence of good and evil, exemplified in the two main characters: Sophy, who plots to kidnap a child for ransom, and Matty, who gives his life to prevent it.
  • Started The Sea Trilogy

    One of Golding's most ambitious works is The Sea Trilogy, three full-length novels that follow the emotional education and moral growth of an aristocratic young man named Edmund Talbot during an ocean voyage to Australia in 1812. Rites of Passage (1980) shows Talbot's spiritual growth, Close Quarters (1987) depicts his emotional and aesthetic development, and Fire Down Below (1989) covers his political enlightenment.
  • Won Nobel Prize for Literature

    at the age of 73, Golding was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Published The Paper Men

    condemned by reviewers as his worst work, partly because the novel seemed to condemn literary critics. The plot concerns an elderly novelist trying to elude a young scholar who wants to write his biography.
  • Knighted

    In 1988 he was knighted by England’s Queen Elizabeth II
  • Death

    died in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, England