William Golding

  • Birth

    He was born September 19, 1911 in Saint Columb Minor, Cornwall, England. His father was a schoolmaster and his mother was active in the Women's Suffrage Movement.
  • First Novel

    Since the age of seven, Golding had been writing stories. At the age of twelve he attempted to write a novel.
  • College

    He went to Brasenose College at Oxford University. He studied the natural sciences for two years before switching to an English major.
  • First Literary Work Published

    First Literary Work Published
    At the age of 22, a year before graduating from college, his first literary work was published. It was a poetry collection titled Poems.
  • Teaching Career

    Teaching Career
    After graduating from Oxford in 1935, Golding became a schoolmaster in Salisbury, Wiltshire. His experience teaching unruly boys would serve as inspiration for Lord of the Flies. His teaching career was interrupted in 1940 with the outbreak of World War II
  • Marriage

    He married Ann Brookfield, an analytical chemist. They had two children
  • Royal Navy

    Royal Navy
    Golding spent six years in the navy. During this time he came to love the sea and sailing. He fought battleships at the sinking of Bismarck and was placed in command of a rocket launching craft.
  • Return to Teaching

    At the end of WWII in 1945, he returned to his teaching and writing career. He taught philosophy and English.
  • Lord of the Flies

    Lord of the Flies
    After 21 rejections, Lord of the Flies was published. This book set the tone of his later work that would also involve the internal struggle between good and evil. This novel is still regarded as a classic.
  • Other Work

    Other Work
    While Golding was mainly a novelist, he also wrote plays, poetry, essays, and short stories. He published a play titled The Brass Butterfly and two collections of essays.
  • Paperback Edition

    Initially, the novel received mixed reviews and modest sales. However, the paperback publication of the novel made the book more accessible to students, and thus more popular. The novel's reputation grew, and critics viewed it as more than a simple adventure story.
  • Teaching Resignation

    Teaching Resignation
    In 1961 he resigned from teaching in order to focus all of his attention to writing. He spent the rest of the years as a writer in residence at Hollins College in Virginia.
  • Lord of the Flies Movie

    Lord of the Flies Movie
    A year after Golding retired from teaching, Peter Brook made a film adaptation of Lord of the Flies. In 1990 a new version was released.
  • Commander of the British Empire

    Commander of the British Empire
    His quality of work established him as one of the most distinguished writers of the late twentieth century. This view was further proven when he was named a Commander of the British Empire.
  • Final Works

    One of Golding's final works includes Rites of Passage, a novel that won the Booker McConnell Prize, the most prestigious award for English literature. It inspired two sequels. These novels portray life aboard a ship during the Napoleonic wars.
  • Nobel Prize

    Nobel Prize
    He received he Nobel Prize for literature.
  • Knighted

    He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Death

    He spent the last few years of his life living quietly with his wife in Cornwall, where he continued to write. He died of a heart attack.
  • The Double Tongue

    The Double Tongue
    At the time of his death he was writing a manuscript titled "The Double Tongue." It focused on the fall of Hellenic culture and the rise of Roman civilization. It was published after his death.