Biography of William Golding

By: Madeline King

Early Life

  • Born September 19, 1911 in Cornwall, England, UK
  • father Alec Golding was a socialist teacher at a grammar school
  • grew up with his parents and older brother, Joseph
  • was somewhat of a bully in school
  • attended the school at which his father worked before going to Brasenose College in Oxford 1930
  • studied science at his father's request but switched to the literature program after two years

Marriage and Family

  • married Ann Brookfield, in September of 1939
  • had two children with her, Judith and David
  • married to Ann until his death in 1993

Early Career

  • after college, worked in settlement houses and in a small theater as a writer and actor
  • became a schoolteacher teaching English and philosophy at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury
  • joined the Royal Navy in 1940, served during World War II
  • was involved in sinking the German battleship, Bismark
  • after the war, went back to teaching

Career as Writer

  • published his first novel, Lord of the Flies in 1954 after being rejected 21 times
  • set tone for later books, showing human struggle between good and evil
  • wrote other novels but Lord of the Flies was by far, his most popular
  • other novels include Rites of Passage, Pincher Martin, Free Fall, and The Pyramid
♦ Benedict Cumberbatch reads William Golding ♦


  • 1980 - 'Booker McConnell Prize' for novel, Rites of Passage
  • 1983 - Nobel Prize for literature
  • 1988 - knighted by Queen Elizabeth II


  • died of heart failure June 19, 1993 in Cornwall
  • survived by his wife and two kids

Connection to Lord of the Flies

William Golding is the author of the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, and much of his life affected his writing of the book and its themes. When he was a child and teenager, William Golding was a bully to his classmates, and when he was a teacher, he had to control unruly boys. Through these life events, as well as his studies of philosophy, he experienced first-hand, the good and evil of human beings, particularly, young boys, which he incorporated into his novel, Lord of the Flies.

Works Cited