William Golding was born in Cornwall, England on September 19, 1911. Although educated to be a scientist at the request of his father, he developed an interest in literature. At Oxford University, he studied natural science for two years and then transferred to a program for English literature and philosophy. He eventually became a schoolmaster at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury. During World War II, he joined the Royal Navy and was involved in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. After the war, he returned to Bishop Wordsworth's School and taught there until 1962. His first novel, Lord of the Flies, was published in 1954 and was made into a film in 1963. His other novels include The Inheritors, Free Fall, The Spire, The Pyramid, The Paper Men, Close Quarters, and Fire down Below. He won the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. He also wrote plays, essays, and short stories. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. He died on June 19, 1993.
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, he became a teacher. His spare time was spent writing short stories and novels. King's first novel would never have been published if not for his wife. She removed the first few chapters from the garbage after King had thrown them away in frustration. Three months later, he received a $2,500 advance from Doubleday Publishing for the book that went on to sell a modest 13,000 hardcover copies. That book, Carrie, was about a girl with telekinetic powers who is tormented by bullies at school. She uses her power, in turn, to torment and eventually destroy her mean-spirited classmates. When United Artists released the film version in 1976, it was a critical and commercial success. The paperback version of the book, released after the movie, went on to sell more than two-and-a-half million copies. Many of King's other horror novels have been adapted into movies, including The Shining, Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Cujo, Misery, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King has written the books The Running Man, The Regulators, Thinner, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and Rage. King is one of the world's most successful writers, with more than 100 million copies of his works in print. Many of his books have been translated into foreign languages, and he writes new books at a rate of about one per year. In 2003, he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2012 his title, The Wind Through the Keyhole made The New York Times Best Seller List. King's title's Mr. Mercedes and Revival made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014.