1983 winner of the Nobel Prize In literature
Sir William Gerald Golding
Sir William Gerald Golding CBE (19 September 1911 – 19 June 1993) was a British novelist, playwright, and poet. Best known for his novel Lord of the Flies, he won a Nobel Prize in Literature and was awarded the Booker Prize for fiction in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book in what became his sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.
In September 1953, after many rejections from other publishers, Golding sent a manuscript to Faber & Faber and was initially rejected by their reader. His book, however, was championed by Charles Monteith, a new editor at the firm. Monteith asked for some changes to the text and the novel was published in September 1954 as Lord of the Flies.
After moving in 1958 from Salisbury to nearby Bowerchalke, he met his fellow villager and walking companion James Lovelock. The two discussed Lovelock’s hypothesis, that the living matter of the planet Earth functions like a single organism, and Golding suggested naming this hypothesis after Gaia, the goddess of the earth in Greek mythology. His publishing success made it possible for Golding to resign his teaching post at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in 1961, and he spent that academic year in the United States as writer-in-residence at Hollins College, near Roanoke, Virginia.
Golding won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1979, and the Booker Prize in 1980. In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and was according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography “an unexpected and even contentious choice”.
In 1988 Golding was appointed a Knight Bachelor. In September 1993, only a few months after his sudden death, the First International William Golding Conference was held in France, where Golding’s presence had been promised and was eagerly expected.
Despite his success, Golding “was abnormally thin-skinned when it came to criticism of his work. He simply could not read even the mildest reservation and on occasion left the country when his books were published.”