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William Golding, 81, Nobel Prize winner

Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding, whose classic novel Lord of the Flies won acclaim for its chilling story of marooned schoolboys' descent into barbarism, died Saturday. He was 81.

Matthew Evans, chairman of Mr. Golding's publisher, Faber and Faber, said the likely cause of death was a heart attack.

The writer died at his home in Perranarworthal, near Falmouth in southern England.

Mr. Golding won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1983 and was knighted five years ago.

He suffered a string of rejections before Lord of the Flies, his first work, was published in 1954. The tale is about a group of boys who crash-land in an airplane and try to survive on an uninhabited island, where they split into different tribes and begin fighting one another. The book was made into at least two movies.

Lord of the Flies was followed by six other novels. Rites of Passage, published in 1980, won the Booker Prize, one of Britain's most prestigious literary prizes.