William Golding did not enter public consciousness until his 40s, with his shocking debut novel, The Lord of the Flies (1954). Prior to that, he had worked as a school teacher first in Maidstone and then in Salisbury (apart from the war years during which he served in the Royal Navy, participating in the sinking of the Bismarck and the D-Day landings.

He won the Booker Prize in 1980 for Rites of Passage, which was the first in what would become known as his Sea Trilogy. Soon after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1983) and knighted in 1988. 

Apart from his novels, he also published essays, poetry, and plays. But it is undoubtedly Lord of the Flies for which is he is still best known, 30 years after his death.