John Kennedy Toole was born in New Orleans in 1937 and graduated from Tulane University. He earned a master's degree from Columbia University. While in high school, he wrote a humor column and a novel, The Neon Bible. He later taught at Hunter College in Manhattan, the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and St. Mary's Dominican College. His novel, Confederacy of Dunces, winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was published years after he killed himself following its initial rejection by publishers.