John Kennedy Toole was born in New Orleans in 1937. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University, Toole received a master’s in English from Columbia University, and taught at Hunter College and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). In 1961, while pursuing a doctorate and Columbia University, Toole was drafted into the United States Army, where he spent his time teaching English, while stationed in Puerto Rico. After two years in the army, Toole returned to New Orleans, where he taught at Dominican College. In 1969, frustrated at his failure to interest a publisher in A Confederacy of Dunces, he committed suicide. Toole’s book was eventually published, after his mother brought the work to the attention of the author Walker Percy and insisted that he read her son’s manuscript. Percy became one of the novels many admirers and A Confederacy of Dunces would eventually be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1981, one year after the books first printing. Following the success of A Confederacy of Dunces, The Neon Bible, which Toole had written when he was only sixteen, was first published by Grove Press in 1989.