Name at birth: William Gerald Golding
William Golding was a Nobel Prize-winning English novelist whose first and most famous novel was 1954's Lord of the Flies. Oxford educated and a World War II Navy veteran, Golding taught English at Bishop Wordsworth's School for boys from 1945 to 1961, all the while trying to make it as a writer. His first novel made him internationally famous; the tale of shipwrecked schoolboys who resort to savagery, it remains a staple in literature classes. Golding's next novels found enthusiastic academic audiences, but their allegorical and symbolic elements failed to find popular audiences. During his career he was hailed as a genius visionary by some and a pretentious rogue by others, his works generally characterized as examinations into the bleakness and brutality of existence. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1983. His other novels include Free Fall (1959), The Spire (1964) and the trilogy of Rites of Passage (1980, winner of the Booker Prize), Close Quarters (1987) and Fire Down Below (1989).