William Golding Top Ten Facts 📝

William Golding’s writing is read around the world. But, few readers are aware of the complexities of his life.

William Golding

(1911 - 1993), British Novelist

Knowing more about William Golding can help readers understand the core values behind his writing. Below, readers can find a few interesting, troubling, and informative facts about the author.

William Golding Top Ten Facts

He was a complex man

William Golding was undoubtedly a complex man. From his troubled youth to his adolescence where at times his behavior bordered on cruel or even criminal. He was obviously able to form positive relationships even after his turbulent time in the navy (which had a resounding influence on his work). The complexities of the man reveal themselves through a study of the themes he covers in Lord of the Flies.

He struggled with substance abuse

Alcohol was often the bane of Golding’s life. He began to have issues with it at a young age. It started off with binge drinking and developed into a dependency in his later life.

His life influenced his writing

As previously mentioned, a lot of Golding’s characters were influenced by his life experiences, as were a lot of the themes of his novel. Take, for instance, his most famous work, Lord of the Flies. The novel was influenced by his work as a teacher, where he regularly dealt with unruly children. However, the fact that he uses children doesn’t suggest he believes that adults are any less capable of evil. In fact, Golding drew on his experience in the war to posit the idea that having seen what he had, every human being has the capacity for evil.

He studied at one of the world’s best universities

It is a well-known fact that the two best universities in England are Oxford and Cambridge. That has been the case in the UK for many decades. However, Oxford, where Golding attended, is ranked as the number one university in the entire world. It rarely finds itself outside of that position, and Golding was lucky enough to have attended the prestigious establishment.

His work as a teacher was part of the reason he wrote Lord of the Flies

It is perhaps unsurprising that a tale about a group of schoolboys was informed by Golding’s work as a teacher. What is more surprising is that it springs from an experiment. One day, he got two groups of children to fight one another. The book was also influenced by Golding’s own school experiences. Golding was himself an aggressive child.

Many of his books cover the theme of good versus evil

There is little doubt that Golding was a man who struggled with his conscience. He talked freely about the sort of child he was and did not shy away from talking about the atrocities he witnessed while part of the armed forces. These things permeated into his work and are seen through the theme of good versus evil. It reoccurred in many of his novels. Golding believed that without the constraints of society, man regressed to their most base instincts, to hunt and kill.

He was ranked 3rd on the Times list of the best British writers since 1945

The Times is one of Britain’s most respected newspapers, so to feature in the top ten was in itself an achievement. He managed to beat the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and Ted Hughes to finish in such a lofty position. The only two British writers that bested him in the ranking were poet Phillip Larkin and ‘1984‘ author George Orwell.

Stephen King loves Lord of the Flies

Stephen King has often cited Golding’s classic Lord of the Fliesas an influence on his career. One could argue that in some ways, King has surpassed his literary hero now. After all, works such asIt and The Shining have become more ingrained in the modern-day consciousness partially due to their on-screen adaptations.

Golding did not think of his book so highly. In fact, he suggested that a high-level schoolchild could have written better. Another noted author that is not a fan is John Green, who wrote The Fault in our Stars.

Lord of the Flies has faced criticism for being too male-centric

As previously mentioned, this is one of the reasons that John Green doesn’t like the novel. He appreciates the craft but does not agree with the ideas. Additionally, he thinks that the novel has not aged well. Central to this notion is the idea that a different outcome may have occurred if there had been women on the island. Golding addressed his thoughts on women by claiming they are not equal to men. They are superior. So perhaps the thought process is that with women on the island, society would have helped to some extent.

Golding had an amusing experience at a stage production of Lord of the Flies

Golding went to view a production of a stage adaptation of ‘Lord of the Flies’ produced by school children. At the end of the play, he went backstage to chat with the cast. He quizzed one of the boys about how he felt about playing out the acts of savagery, and Golding was amused that his reaction was similar to the characters in his book.


What is the date of William Golding’s death?

William Golding passed away on June 19, 1993.

What was Lord of the Flies based on?

It is based on Golding’s experiences as a teacher of young children and his own experiences as a child.

Why is Lord of the Flies famous?

It is famous for its striking and memorable depiction of what happens when a society loses its rules. In this case, made even more horrifying by the fact that children are the source of the savagery.

Lee-James Bovey
About Lee-James Bovey
Lee-James, a.k.a. LJ, has been a Book Analysis team member since it was first created. During the day, he's an English Teacher. During the night, he provides in-depth analysis and summary of books.
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