Fire Down Below (Paperback)
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William Golding's father was a schoolmaster, his mother a suffragette. At the age of 12, he began writing a 12-volume epic novel that began, "I was born in the Duchy of Cornwall on the eleventh of October, 1792, of rich but honest parents." Upon graduating from Oxford, Golding taught English and philosophy at a school in Salisbury until, when World War II began, he served in the navy as a rocket ship commander. LORD OF THE FLIES, his first published novel, appeared in 1954 after being rejected by 21 publishers; Golding was 45. Thereafter, he published five novels in 10 years, to great critical and popular acclaim; then, for 15 years, he published very little, and nothing of significance, until DARKNESS VISIBLE (1979) and RITES OF PASSAGE (1980), for which he won the Booker Prize, restored his reputation. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1983. In 1961, he came to the States and spent a year as writer-in-residence at Hollins College. Golding was also an accomplished musician, playing the piano, violin, viola, cello, and oboe. He was knighted in 1988 and died of heart failure in 1993.