John Knowles was born in Fairmont, W.Va., on September 16, 1926. He began prep school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire from 1942 to 1944 and was then inducted into the U.S. Army Air Corps. After World War II ended, he attended Yale University, graduating in 1949, and then worked as a reporter for the Hartford Courant. He eventually turned to freelance writing, often writing articles about travel. This took him to Europe where he spent much of the 1950s. In addition to this writing, he served as editor for Holiday magazine for a time. A Separate Peace, his first novel, was published in 1959 in England and the United States. Set in a prep school much like Exeter, the novel takes place during World War II and is about the impact of the war on young men on the homefront; the troubled relationship of the two main characters symbolizes the fear and suspicion that can lead to war between nations. Knowles received the William Faulkner Foundation Award for a First Novel and the Independent School Education Board Award. A Separate Peace continues to be one of the most widely read novels in high schools and colleges. Knowles's subsequent novels include Morning in Antibes (1962), A Vein of Riches (1978), which is set in his native West Virginia, and Peace Breaks Out (1981) which returns to the setting of A Separate Peace. He also wrote a non-fiction book, Double Vision: American Thoughts Abroad (1964). He remains best known, however, for his first novel. John Knowles has lived on Long Island, N.Y. since the early 1960s.