William Golding comes across as quite a forbidding figure not least because of the pessimistic view of human nature portrayed in his first novel, The Lord of the Flies (1954). The son of a west country schoolmaster and for over 20 years a schoolmaster himself, Golding found almost instant fame with The Lord of the Flies and so was able to give up teaching in order to write full time in 1961. He would go on to publish 12 novels in all, as well as some novellas, a volume of poetry, a play (The Brass Butterfly), and essay collections.
He was hailed within his lifetime as a giant of British 20th-century literature, a fact given formal recognition by his 1980 Booker Prize (for Rites of Passage), the 1983 Nobel Prize for Literature, and a knighthood in 1988.
Further details can be found here at his official website.