Lord of the Flies takes off with a centenary edition to mark William Golding’s birth

Written by Gerald Isaaman on .

Centenary editions of his bestselling novels Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors are to be published by Faber to mark the 100 years since the birth of William Golding, Marlborough’s sole Nobel prize-winner.

The special editions will carry a golden stamp announcing the anniversary, and will have new, specially commissioned introductions. One  is by Stephen King, author of The Shining, who has written the introduction to Lord of the Flies, originally published in 1954.

And Professor John Carey, author of the major Golding biography, published two years ago, has written the introduction to The Inheritors.

This was Golding's second novel, first published in 1955, with a plot that revolves around the extinction of the last tribe of Neanderthals. Both centenary editions will appear on August 4 as paperbacks costing only £7.99 each.

Golding, who lived on The Green, Marlborough, where there is a commemorative plaque on his house, was an unknown schoolmaster, who wrote in school breaks. The Lord of the Flies was rejected by numerous publishers before being picked from the reject pile at Faber.

"It is always a thrill to find a reason to look again at William Golding's fiction, and the centenary year offers just this opportunity," Hannah Griffiths, director of Faber’s paperbacks, tells The Bookseller.

"Stephen King and John Carey have written wonderful introductions, and Neil Gower's inspired new illustrations for these editions make a beautiful addition to Golding's design history".

"Golding is a phenomenal Nobel Prize-winning author, but people think of one book . . . We are trying to give the reader a cue to say, 'if you love that, you'll love this, too."

Faber is also publishing a memoir by Golding's daughter, Judy Carver, next month called The Children of Lovers. It tells of her experiences growing up as her father became a famous novelist, as well as her adult reflections on his work.

She will be returning to Marlborough in September to talk about her memories at the Marlborough Literary Festival.

Faber will be backing the new editions and celebrating the anniversary year with publicity and a consumer campaign, with a display of Golding's manuscripts also to be on show at the Bodleian Library from 5 to November 23. The display will include the Lord of the Flies manuscript, with other exhibits drawn from previously unseen archives held by Faber and the Bodleian's collections.

Golding, also a poet and playwright, won the Booker Prize in 1980, was made a Nobel laureate in 1983 and was knighted by the Queen in 1988. He died in 1993, aged 81.