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Meet the Writers

William S. Burroughs
A wanderer and a literary experimentalist, William S. Burroughs is the Beat writer who outlived most of his contemporaries to become the literary symbol of a dispossessed, rock n' roll mentality. His rollercoaster existence made for good semifictional reading, but he also innovated the narrative form with his fragmentary, brash style.

* Read the biography

Fact File

William S. Burroughs
Also Known As:
William Lee and Willie Lee, William Seward Burroughs (full name)
Date of Birth:
February 4, 1914
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
Date of Death:
August 2, 1997
Place of Death:
Lawrence, Kansas
Los Alamos Ranch School; A.B., Harvard University, 1936; graduate study, 1938

The Best Book to Read First

Selected Works

Book Cover Image. Title: 
								Naked Lunch, Author: 
								William S. Burroughs.

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Naked Lunch
by William S. Burroughs
Norman Mailer called Burroughs's masterwork "A book of great beauty," and remarked that "Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius."
Book Cover Image. Title: 
								The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead, Author: 
								William S. Burroughs.
*  Junky (1953)
*  Naked Lunch (1962)
*  The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead (1971)
*  Blade Runner: A Movie (1979)
*  My Education: A Book of Dreams (1994)

*  See the William S. Burroughs chronology

Grappling with Addiction

More About Burroughs

Book Cover Image. Title: 
								Junky, Author: 
								William S. Burroughs.

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by William S. Burroughs
Burroughs's first book may be more familiar territory now that several movies about heroin addiction have vividly portrayed its lure and pitfalls; but the seminal Junky (and its sequel of sorts, Queer) succinctly lays out the life of an addict.

*Queer  by William S. Burroughs
Book Cover Image. Title: 
								William Burroughs, Author: 
								Barry Miles.

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William Burroughs
by Barry Miles
An updated and revised version of Miles's uncritical but knowledgable 1993 biography is due this fall; but plenty exists for those who want information straight for the source, since Burroughs left behind many letters, journals and essays.

*Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs  by William S. Burroughs, James Grauerholz (Editor)
*The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs  by William S. Burroughs, Daniel Odier
*The Yage Letters  by William S. Burroughs, with Allen Ginsberg