British novelist, playwrite and poet William Golding was born on this day in 1911. He is best remembered for his Nobel award winning novel, “Lord of the Flies”. Golding was also awarded the Booker Prize in 1980 for his novel, “Rites of Passage”. During his career he published fourteen novels, a collection of poetry and a play entitled, “The Brass Butterfly. In 1998 Golding was knighted by Elizabeth II. He was also a member of the Royal Society of Literature. He passed away from heart failure in June of 1993. His son David continues to write carrying on the Golding name.
“Lord of the Flies” has been listed on nearly every list of great books, but it was not a critical success when it hit shelves in 1954. In fact it was a battle for the novel to even be published in the first place. When it did reach stores it sold less than 3,000 copies and fell out of print in 1955. Due to the controversial subject matter of the novel it has been banned in many countries. It is listed at #68 on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books.
Today, “Lord of the Flies” has sold over 150 million copies and remains a part of most high school and college reading lists. It has been adapted for screen and stage.