The critical and commercial success of his first novel, "A Separate Peace," and subsequently receiving the William Faulkner Award for the most promising novel of 1960 are some of the highlights of John Knowles' life. Knowles was born in 1926 in Fairmont, West Virginia, and died in 2001 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Knowles received other literary honors during his lifetime, especially for "A Separate Peace," such as the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters. The Rosenthal Foundation began issuing two annual awards in 1956 for any fiction work of "considerable literary achievement." Knowles also won the National Association of Independent Schools Award in 1961.
Knowles loosely based "A Separate Peace" upon Philips Exeter Academy, where he was a pupil from 1942 to 1945. The novel covers a period of social and personal transition among young men attending a prestigious New England boarding school named Devon during World War II.
In 1981, Knowles published "Peace Breaks Out," a sequel to "A Separate Peace" that also exposes the secret lives of boys at Devon. During his life, Knowles produced eight novels, a short story collection and a book on travel, which chronicles Knowles' travels in he Middle East and on the Riviera during the early 1960s.