Born: 1897 New Albany, Mississippi
Died: 1962 Byhalia, Mississippi
William Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American author. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his reputation is based on his novels, novellas and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.
Most of Faulkner's works are set in his native state of Mississippi. He is considered one of the most important Southern writers along with Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams.
While his work was published regularly starting in the mid 1920s, Faulkner was relatively unknown before receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. Since then, he has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature.
From the early 1920s to the outbreak of WWII, when Faulkner left for California, he published 13 novels and numerous short stories, the body of work that grounds his reputation and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 52. This prodigious output, mainly driven by an obscure writer's need for money, includes his most celebrated novels such as The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). Faulkner was also a prolific writer of short stories. His first short story collection, These 13 (1931), includes many of his most acclaimed (and most frequently anthologized) stories, including "A Rose for Emily", "Red Leaves", "That Evening Sun", and "Dry September".
Faulkner accomplished what he did despite a lifelong drinking problem. As he stated on several occasions, and as was witnessed by members of his family, the press, and friends at various periods over the course of his career, he did not drink while writing, nor did he believe that alcohol helped to fuel the creative process. It is now widely believed that Faulkner used alcohol as an "escape valve" from the day-to-day pressures of his regular life, including his financial straits, rather than the more romantic vision of a brilliant writer who needed alcohol to pursue his craft.