John Kennedy Toole
Kennedy Toole was born in Louisiana. His father was a car salesman,
and his mother had a teaching position, which she had to give up, as
this was the custom in the part of the world, at that time. Mrs. Toole
did continue to teach many subjects in private, but Toole became almost
an obsession of hers. She wanted to him be famous it seemed. She started
a children’s skit with roughly fifty children from the area, Mrs. Toole
made sure that Toole was the star of the show, always. By the age of
ten, Toole was performing on stage and doing modeling gigs for the local
Toole was an intelligent boy and skipped the first grade altogether. He
found a passion for writing while in high school, being the editor of
the school paper and also staffing on the school year book. He would
carry on his editorial duties at Tulane University in Louisiana. Here he
would graduate with honors.
His first novel, The Neon Bible, was written when he was only sixteen.
His second novel was started while he was in the army, teaching English
to American Puerto Ricans. He finished the novel at his parents’ home
after being let out of the army. He named this book, A Confederacy of
While seeking publication for his novels, Toole worked as a professor at
several different Universities. He never did see his novels published
and it is believed due to this frustration he killed himself. Both of
his novels went on to be published much later, after his death.