novelist William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi. Faulkner was an early pioneer of the Southern Gothic genre, a genre that uses macabre themes and characters often portrayed in a decaying Southern setting to offer a critic of society. Some of Faulkner’s more widely read Southern Gothic Novels are The Sound and the Fury, As I lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom. Faulkner won many awards for his writing; among them two Pulitzer Prizes (1955, 1963) and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949. During his Nobel acceptance speech in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10, 1950 Faulkner asked the question that still resonates in many minds today, “When will I be blown up?”
"Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat." The entire speech can be read here.
Faulkner donated his Nobel prize money to establish a fund to help young writers- now known as the PEN/Faulkner Award. Another part of the prize money he donated to a local bank to establish a scholarship to help educate African-American teachers at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Faulkner died on July 6, 1962 and is buried in Oxford, Mississippi.