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Wiliam Golding

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.

Less remembered, perhaps, is that Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, and was knighted in 1988.

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).
 Featured Audio

Arts Alberta #29
In this episode of Arts Alberta, broadcast on Nov. 15,
1985, Tony Dillon Davis interviews Golding and learns
that poetry was the author's first love in literature.
Indeed, though he is more readily known for Lord of
the Flies, his first work of literature was Poems,
published in 1935.

Golding explains that it was poetry that led him to write
novels. He discusses how his navy service during the
war, coupled with his teaching experience, contributed
to the writing of Lord of the Flies.
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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.
Golding's final work, The Double Tongue, left in draft at his death in 1993, was posthumously published.

He has been described as a writer who reveals the darkness of the human heart, particularly when isolated individuals or small groups are pushed into extreme situations. This may seem certainly true of Lord of the Flies, yet, Golding described himself as anything but a pessimist during his Nobel lecture in 1983.

"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 myself."

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