William Morris was born in London, England in 1834. Arguably best known as a textile designer, he founded a design partnership which deeply influenced the decoration of churches and homes during the early 20th century. However, he is also considered an important Romantic writer and pioneer of the modern fantasy genre, being a direct influence on authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien.
As well as fiction, Morris penned poetry and essays. Amongst his best-known works are The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthly Paradise (1868–1870), A Dream of John Ball (1888), News from Nowhere (1890), and the fantasy romance The Well at the World’s End (1896).
Morris was also an important figure in British socialism, founding the Socialist League in 1884. He died in 1896, aged 62.