Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger de Saint-Exupery simply known as de Saint-Exupery (29 June 1900 – 31 July 1944), was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the United States National Book Award. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Wind, Sand and Stars and Night Flight.
Saint-Exupery was a successful commercial pilot before World War II. He was working airmail routes in Europe, Africa, and South America. He joined the French Air Force at the start of the war, flying reconnaissance missions until France’s armistice with Germany in 1940. After being demobilised from the French Air Force, he travelled to the United States to help persuade its government to enter the war against Nazi Germany.
Saint-Exupery spent 28 months in America, during which he wrote three of his most important works. Then, joined the Free French Air Force in North Africa—although he was far past the maximum age for such pilots and in declining health.
Prior to the war, Exupery had achieved fame in France as an aviator. His literary works posthumously boosted his stature to national hero status in France. The Little Prince has been translated into 300 languages. He earned further widespread recognition with international translations of his other works. His 1939 philosophical memoir Terre des hommes (titled Wind, Sand and Stars in English) became the name of an international humanitarian group. It was also used as the central theme of Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec.
Saint-Exupery disappeared and is believed to have died while on a reconnaissance mission from Corsica over the Mediterranean on 31 July 1944. His birthplace of Lyon named its main airport after him.