Prize-Winning Novelist William Styron Dies at 81

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Alan Cheuse Commentary

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Styron died Wednesday of pneumonia at a hospital in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. He was 81.

Styron won the Pulitzer for The Confessions of Nat Turner, a fictional account of Nat Turner and the slave revolt of 1831. Despite the award, Styron — a white southerner — was widely criticized for his portrayal of the black hero.

His other works included Sophie's Choice, the award-winning novel about a Holocaust survivor from Poland, A Tidewater Morning, a collection of fiction pieces, and Lie Down in Darkness.

Styron also published a book of essays, This Quiet Dust, and a best-selling 1992 memoir, Darkness Visible, that chronicled his suicidal depression.

The liberal ex-Marine was also well-known for his advocacy of human rights.

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