English novelist Sir William Gerald Golding (1911-1993) was born on this day in Cornwall, England and begun writing at age six. As part of the World War II Royal Navy, he saw the horrors of war, participating in the Normandy invasion.
"World War II was the turning point for me," he said. "I began to see what people were capable of doing. Anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head."
Lord of the Flies (1954), his first and most famous novel, was rejected by over 20 publishers. The thought-provoking tale of British schoolboys plane-wrecked on an uninhabited island explored the dark side of human nature. It became a cult classic.
"Look out," he warned, "the evil is in us all."
His follow-up novels won critical acclaim. They included: Pincher Martin (1956), Free Fall (1959), and The Spire (1964).
He once observed: "The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off."
His Rites of Passage, (1981) was honored with the Booker Prize, the premier British award for fiction. "Golding's strength is that he combines earthly and unearthly powers," praised writer Victoria Glendinning.
He won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for his literary merits, "for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today."
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