William Cuthbert Faulkner, easily the most famous author from Mississippi, was born 25 September 1897 and died 6 July 1962. For his writing, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. He lived the large part of his life in Oxford, MS, in his house which he had named Rowan Oak. The geography of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, in which most of his work is set, is nearly identical to that of Lafayette County (the local pronunciation is la-FAY-ette), of which Oxford is the county seat. Perhaps his most famous works are As I Lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom!, and that confusing work of genius that has given countless students of literature headaches, The Sound and the Fury.
The most famous lines from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech that "I decline to accept the end of man . . . . I believe that man will not only endure, he will prevail," are emblazoned on the wall of the library at his alma mater--and a frequent site for Faulkner studies--the University of Mississippi, also located in Oxford.
The story is also told of him that before he became a famous author, he worked at the post office. Rather than perform his duties of sorting mail and attending to patrons, he preferred to spend his time playing cards in the back room. He eventually quit, reportedly saying that he'd rather not work than "be at the beck and call of every son of a bitch with a two-cent stamp."
He died at Wright's Sanatorium in Byhalia, Mississippi, after an illness, and he and his wife are buried together in the Oxford cemetary--a frequent site for university students playing hide-and-go-seek and lovers gone to seek some privacy. The gravesite itself is occasionally used for the student ritual of "making peace with Faulkner." In order to propitiate the author's ghost for running amuck on the grounds of his home and his university and in his beloved town, half a bottle of whiskey--Faulkner was by reputation quite a drinker--is poured on the grave, and the other half drunk by the the one making the sacrifice. Supposedly, this will allow the newcomer to live in peace.
Sources: My own recollections from what I heard in Oxford and at Ole Miss, and a brief bio by Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books (and currently Oxford's mayor), at http://www.squarebooks.com/faulkner/index.php