William S. Burroughs was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist. A major postmodernist author, Burroughs wrote 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. In 1943 while living in New York City, he befriended Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the mutually influential foundation of what became the countercultural movement of the Beat Generation. Much of Burroughs’s work is semi-autobiographical, primarily drawn from his experiences as a heroin addict, as he lived throughout Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, the South American Amazon and Tangier in Morocco. Finding success with his confessional first novel, Junkie (1953), Burroughs is perhaps best known for his third novel Naked Lunch (1959). He was born on this day in 1914 and died on August 2, 1997.