After joining the Aéropostale to fly airmail to Dakar and later on to South America, buoyed up by his aviation experience, he wrote a novella ‘The Aviator’ which forms the basis of his first novel – Southern Mail, published in 1929. He became airline stopover manager at Cape Juby, before becoming test pilot and director of Aeroposta Argentina airline. In 1934 he filed the first of his patents in the field of aviation, taking part in conferences and aviation record attempts.
At the same time he was showing himself to be one of the most brilliant and popular writers of his generation. Night Flight (1931) won the Prix Fémina while 1939’s Wind Sand and Stars was awarded a prize by both the Academie Francaise and the American Booksellers’ Association. During his time in the US while France was under occupation Saint Exupéry wrote works including Flight to Arras (1942) and The Little Prince (1943). In 1944, after having joined the Free French forces, Antoine de Saint Exupéry was killed during a combat mission. Editions Gallimard published his final unfinished novel, Citadelle, in 1948.