Reared in Washington, D.C., Gore Vidal began his writing career at age 21, when he wrote his first novel, Williwaw, in 1946. Vidal’s second book, The City and the Pillar, drew some controversy because the protagonist is openly gay, and his books were boycotted by The New York Times, which forced him to continue writing under the pseudonym Edgar Box. In the late ’50s he was hired as a screenwriter and helped rewrite the script for Ben-Hur in 1959. Vidal also wrote plays including The Best Man and Visit to a Small Planet, both of which were successful on Broadway. Throughout his career, Vidal contributed essays and articles to popular magazines such as The New Yorker and Esquire.