A midlife crisis that followed Lord of the Flies

The object of William Golding's obsession breaks her silence

When William Golding died suddenly of a heart attack, after an evening's heavy drinking nearly 19 years ago, he left behind a treasure trove of unfinished novels and an intimate personal journal. But, on the insistence of the writer's only daughter, Judy, these yellowing manuscripts will remain in a bank vault. They will never be published.

What we know of the turbulent private life of the Lord of the Flies author we can glean from John Carey's biography, and the disclosures in Judy's book, The Children of Lovers, published last year. But there are yawning gaps in our understanding of the troubled Nobel Prize winner, who died aged 81 in 1993. Now, some of the previously undocumented events in Golding's fraught later life have been unearthed for a forthcoming BBC film which will shed light on the writer's self- loathing, depression and heroic drinking bouts.

It also chronicles the effects on Golding of the decades-long depression of his only son, David, who endured a breakdown as a student from which he has never fully recovered. But it is the film's focus on Golding's five-year relationship with an attractive Canadian student which looks set to garner most attention.

For The Dreams of William Golding, director Adam Low managed to track down the former student. She is the exotically named Virginia Tiger, now professor of English at Ruthven's University, New Jersey. She agreed to co-operate and talk on camera about Golding's fascination for her.

And, for the first time, Judy Golding admits that she believes her father was in love with Tiger. She says: "This was a very big thing in both my parent's lives. Virginia was a very attractive, very intelligent ,very sympathetic person who was very interested in my father's writing. She was somebody my father wanted to be friends with but it would be misleading if I didn't acknowledge he also, at some degree fell in love with her."

This had a profoundly upsetting effect on Judy's mother Anne, an analytic chemist who had been married to Golding for nearly 30 years by the time he started his relationship with Tiger in 1966

Tiger recalls: "I wrote him a letter. I got a response .He said he would see me. He told me to take a train to Salisbury and he would give me lunch in a pub. We went to the pub and had lunch and we talked. We were both very nervous . Then he took me on a tour of Stonehenge. This was a very big thing in both our lives."

Ann Golding died in 1995, two years after her husband, and is buried alongside him at Bowerchalke, Wiltshire. At the time Golding became smitten by Tiger he was in his mid-fifties, prompting suggestions of a mid-life crisis. According to Judy, Tiger came on the scene when Golding had lost his direction and was drinking heavily, causing him to physically assault Ann, "pulling her about".

Golding and Tiger corresponded often. Without Ann's approval, he invited to the family home near Salisbury. Ann made no secret of her discomfiture. Professor Tiger recalls: "I was young and attractive. Ann made it clear she was very uncomfortable with me.I don't think she liked me. In fact I am sure she didn't."

Tiger, who has written a number of scholarly books, including The Unmoved Target: The Fiction of William Golding, says: "Was he infatuated with the young Virginia Tiger? Was he smitten with the young Virginia Tiger? Was he besotted with the young Virginia Tiger? I would say yes. But we were not lovers. Ann thought there might be a point where we were lovers but we were just very good friends."

It was at Ann's insistence that Golding discontinued the relationship.

'Arena: the Dreams of William Golding', Saturday, 9.30pm BBC2

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test