Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. In 1947, enthused by bebop, the rebel attitude of his friend Neal Cassady, and the throng of hobos, drug addicts and hustlers he encountered in New York, he decided to discover America and hitchhike across the country. His writing was openly autobiographical and he developed a style he referred to as ‘spontaneous prose’ which he used to record the experiences of the Beat Generation. Among his many novels are On the Road, Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He died in 1969.