Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, on a Fullbright scholarship. He taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York, where he began a successful career in the advertising departments of Time, Look and McCall's magazines. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22. Working on the novel in spare moments and evenings at home, it took him eight years to complete and was first published in 1961. His second novel, Something Happened, was published in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979 and Closing Time in 1994. He is also the author of the play We Bombed in New Haven.