William Styron

Writer

Born: 11 June 1925
Died: 1 November 2006
Birthplace: Newport News, Virginia
Best known as: Author of Sophie's Choice
William Styron was an American novelist known for the Pulitzer-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967) and the best-selling Sophie's Choice (1979). Styron served in the U.S. Marines during World War II and was educated at Duke University. In New York he worked for McGraw-Hill Publishing and in 1951 launched his career as a novelist with Lie Down in Darkness. He spent time in Europe and became an advisor for the early years of The Paris Review, then published The Long March (1957) and Set This House on Fire (1960). His fictional account of the Nat Turner slave rebellion won him the Pulitzer Prize, but it also brought condemnation from those who bristled at the idea of a white southerner writing from the perspective of a black slave. Several years later Styron was again in the spotlight because of Sophie's Choice, a bestseller that became a successful movie (1982, starring Meryl Streep). Among his other works are a non-fiction memoir of depression, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (1990) and a story collection, A Tidewater Morning: Three Tales from Youth (1993).

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