William S. Burroughs
Born into a prominent St. Louis family, in 1914, William S. Burroughs would go on to be one of the most innovative and controversial writers of the twentieth century. He was a founding father of the Beat Generation, whose companions included Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac.
In 1936, Burroughs graduated from Harvard, where he earned an arts degree. In 1944, Burroughs took an apartment with Jack Kerouac in New York City, where they both became involved in a murder case, from which the work And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks (1945) is based. In 1959, Burroughs published his best-known work, Naked Lunch, which consists of a series of psychotropic encounters involving a character named, William Lee.
In 1974, after having traveled and lived in such places and Tangiers, Paris, and London, Burroughs moved back to New York City where he obtained a position at the City College of New York teaching creative writing. He soon left the position, though, in order to write for the counter-culture periodical Crawdaddy. Burroughs moved to Kansas in 1981, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died in 1997.
Other notable works by Burroughs include, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (1969), The Wild Boys (1971), and The Ticket that Exploded (1962). Norman Mailer once described Burroughs as “the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.”