© William Golding Ltd. on behalf of the photographer

William Golding at his home in Cornwall, late 1980s

William Golding

William Golding, Cornwall's Nobel Laureate, was born in Newquay in 1911, and died in his home at Perranarworthal, several miles outside Truro, in 1993. His mother was Cornish - a fact which, he believed, contributed to her gift for telling terrifying ghost stories. One of his earliest memories was of seeing a U-boat sinking ships in the bay off Newquay. The image of the drowned body recurs several times in his fiction.

Wiltshire was Golding's other county. He was educated at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father Alec taught science, and after the Second World War he took up a teaching post at Bishop Wordsworth School, in the shadow of Salisbury Cathedral. He would stay in Wiltshire until 1985, returning to Cornwall for the last eight years of his life.

Golding was the author of twelve published novels, a play, a book of short stories, two collections of essays, and a travel book. Lord of the Flies (1954), his first novel, brought him instant fame. He won the Booker Prize in 1980 for Rites of Passage, and the Nobel Prize three years later.

With the generous support of William Golding's Estate, an annual Memorial Lecture is held at the University of Exeter, alternating between the Streatham (Exeter) and the Cornwall Campus. 

Tim Kendall and Adeline Johns-Putra organised the William Golding Centenary Conference, which took place on 16-18 September 2011 at the Cornwall campus of the University of Exeter, just three miles from Golding's home in Perranarworthal. The conference included: a keynote lecture by Golding's biographer, John Carey; a visit to the house at Perranarworthal; an exhibition of Golding manuscripts and memorabilia; and screenings of Golding's South Bank Show interviews with Melvyn Bragg. 

Tim Kendall