British novelist William Golding
is best known for his first novel, Lord of the Flies, published in 1954.
The story of a children's tribal society's survival on an island has been
the subject of two movies.
Golding worked as a writer, actor and producer with small theatre companies in England. Beginning in 1940, he served in the Royal Navy for the duration of the Second World War. From 1945-62, he worked as a teacher in Salisbury, and began his career as a novelist, publishing in quick succession, Lord of the Flies (1954), The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (1956) and Free Fall (1959). In that decade, as well, he wrote his only play, The Brass Butterfly (1958).
Afterward, he pursued other
genres, such as the essay (The Hot Gates, 1965; A Moving Target, 1982), a
series of three novellas (The Scorpion God, 1971), and an historical
trilogy (Rites of Passage, 1980, which won the Booker Prize; Close
Quarters, 1987; and Fire Down Below, 1989). The trilogy was been published
in 1991 in a single volume entitled To the Ends of the Earth. In all,
Golding wrote 18 books, including a work of travel literature, An Egyptian
Journal in 1985.
"Twenty-five years ago, I accepted the label 'pessimist' thoughtlessly
without realizing that it was going to be tied to my tail, as it were, in
something the way that, to take an example from another art,
Rachmaninoff's famous Prelude in C sharp minor was tied to him. No
audience would allow him off the concert platform until he played it.
Similarly, critics have dug into my books until they could come up with
something that looked hopeless. I can't think why. I don't feel hopeless