William Faulkner was born William Cuthbert Falkner in 1897 in Mississippi and remained true to the old south all his life, always returning to Mississippi after stints and travels around the world. During his career, he wrote 20 novels, countless short stories and even a few collections of poetry. His most famous works include As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury and Sartoris.
It's no surprise that Faulkner wrote fiction, as he apparently took frequent creative liberties in his own life, as well. Having been rejected by the U.S. Army because of his height (he was only 5'6"), Faulkner added the 'U' to his last name, believing it seemed "more British" that way, and in WWI, after lying about several facts including his place and date of birth, affected a British accent, and was accepted into the Royal Air Force...just in time for the war to end.
Undaunted by not seeing action, however, Faulkner purchased a set of officer's dress uniforms, complete with wings for the lapel, and returned to Mississippi as a war veteran. He even wrangled a spot at college (University of Mississippi), using a special war veteran's application, despite having never finished high school.
Throughout his life, he enjoyed positions at a New York bookstore, and a New Orleans newspaper. Less successful were his bouts with the mail and the boy scouts. He was asked to resign both from his job as postmaster at a university post office, and as the Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop, as he preferred socializing to sorting letters, and also drank quite heavily, which was deemed inappropriate in scouting.
Faulkner struggled with heavy drinking throughout much of his life, and was often heard to remark that alcohol helped fuel the creativity he needed to write. Despite the alcohol abuse, Faulkner was very successful as a writer, and won two Pulitzer Prizes (in 1955 for A Fable and posthumously in 1962 for The Reivers) and the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Faulkner died of a heart attack in 1962 at 64 years old.
From the famous to the forgotten, explore Faulkner's novels followed by a selection of biographies about the literary legend.