Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born on 29 June 1900 in Lyon, France. After receiving a religious education he prepared to join the Navy but failed the oral examination and enroled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts to study architecture. He started his military service in 1921 and was trained as a pilot. In 1923 he suffered his first plane accident. Saint-Exupéry's first tale, "L'Aviateur", was published in 1926 in the literary magazine Le navire d'Argent. That same year, he started work for Latécoere, carrying mail between Toulouse, Casablanca and Dakar. In 1929, he travelled to South America to find new routes, and "Courrier Sud" was published. He married Consuelo Gomez Castillo in 1931, the same year "Vol de Nuit" won him the Prix Fémina. In the 1930's he worked as a test pilot for Air France and a reporter for Paris Soir. In 1935, on a tour of the Mediterranean with two others, his plane hit the top of a plateau in Lybia and they were only found 3 days later. He told his story in "L'Intransigeant" (1936). He suffered another plane accident in Guatemala in 1938 and stayed in a coma for 5 days. The next year, he published "Terre des Hommes" which won him the French Academy's Grand Prix du Roman and the National Book Award in the United States. In 1939, despite disabilities due to his numerous accidents, he became a military reconnaissance pilot. However, he was declared unfit in 1940 and moved to America. He wrote "Pilote de Guerre" (1942), followed by "Lettre a un otage" and "Le Petit Prince" (1943). When the American Army invaded North Africa, he joined them and insisted on flying. He took off for his last reconnaissance flight on 31 July 1944, from which he never returned.
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