Stephen King

(* 1947)

Stephen KingBiographical Sketch

Stephen Edwin King (born Portland, ME, USA, September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books.

King’s career as a writer began when in 1973 his first novel Carrie was accepted by publishing house Doubleday. King threw an early draft of the novel in the trash after becoming discouraged with his progress writing about a teenage girl with psychic powers. His wife retrieved the manuscript and encouraged him to finish it. His advance for Carrie was $2,500, with paperback rights earning $400,000 at a later date. In the interim, King has published 50 novels, including seven under the pen-name of Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books, including the 200 memoir On Writing, which chronicles both his personal and his professional experience as a writer. He has written nearly two hundred short stories, most of which have been collected in nine collections of short fiction. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine.

King often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of fictional books in his stories, novellas and novels, such as Paul Sheldon who is the main character in Misery and Jack Torrance in The Shining. – King has called Richard Matheson “the author who influenced me most as a writer.” Both authors casually integrate characters’ thoughts into the third person narration, just one of several parallels between their writing styles. Ray Bradbury is another influence, with King himself having stated that without Ray Bradbury, there would be no Stephen King. King also acknowledges the influence of Bram Stoker, particularly on his novel ‘Salem’s Lot, which he envisioned as a retelling of Dracula.

In an interview with King, published in the USA Weekend in March 2009, the author stated, “People look on writers that they like as an irreplaceable resource. I do. Elmore Leonard, every day I wake up and – not to be morbid or anything, although morbid is my life to a degree – don’t see his obituary in the paper, I think to myself, “Great! He’s probably working somewhere. He’s gonna produce another book, and I’ll have another book to read. Because when he’s gone, there’s nobody else.”

In his short story collection A Century of Great Suspense Stories, editor Jeffery Deaver noted that King, in turn, “singlehandedly made popular fiction grow up. While there were many good best-selling writers before him, King, more than anybody since John D. MacDonald, brought reality to genre novels. He’s often remarked that ‘Salem’s Lot was “Peyton Place meets Dracula.” And so it was. The rich characterization, the careful and caring social eye, the interplay of story line and character development announced that writers could take worn themes such as vampirism and make them fresh again. Before King, many popular writers found their efforts to make their books serious blue-penciled by their editors. ‘Stuff like that gets in the way of the story,’ they were told. Well, it’s stuff like that that has made King so popular, and helped free the popular name from the shackles of simple genre writing. He is a master of masters.” – Similarly, Roger Ebert, in his review of the 2004 movie Secret Window, stated, “A lot of people were outraged that [King] was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer could not be taken seriously. But after finding that his book On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, I have gotten over my own snobbery.”

King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, British Fantasy Society Awards, his novella The Way Station was a Nebula Award novelette nominee, and his short story The Man in the Black Suit received the O. Henry Award. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his whole career, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2004), the Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2007) and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America (2007). In 2008, On Writing was ranked 21st on Entertainment Weekly list of “The New Classics: The 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008.”

Read more about Stephen King on Wikipedia.

 

Major Awards and Honors

National Book Awards (USA)
  • 2003: Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
O. Henry Award for Short Fiction (USA)
  • 1996: First Prize – “The Man in the Black Suit” (published in The New Yorker)
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
  • 2011: Best Mystery/Thriller – “11/22/63”
American Library Association (ALA) Awards
  • 1978: Best Book for Young Adults – “Salem’s Lot”
  • 1981: Best Book for Young Adults – “Firestarter”
  • 2009: Alex Award – “Just After Sunset”
Audie Awards (APA – Audio Publishers Association)
  • 2002: Best Fiction, Unabridged – “The Talisman”
    (narrated by Frank Muller)
  • 2009: Best Fiction, Unabridged – “Duma Key”
    (narrated by John Slattery)
Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards (Mystery Writers of America)
  • 2007: Grand Master Award – Lifetime Achievement
Bram Stoker Awards (HWA – Horror Writers Association)
  • 1987: Best Novel – “Misery”
    – Tied with “Swan Song” by Robert R. McCammon.
  • 1990: Best Fiction Collection – “Four Past Midnight”
  • 1995: Best Novelette – “Lunch at the Gotham Cafe”
  • 1996: Best Novel – “The Green Mile”
  • 1998: Best Novel – “Bag of Bones”
  • 2000: Best Non-Fiction – “On Writing”
  • 2000: Best Long Fiction – “Riding the Bullet”
  • 2002: Lifetime Achievement
    – Tied with J. N. Williamson.
  • 2004: Best Fantasy Novel – “Wolves of the Calla”
  • 2006: Best Novel – “Lisey’s Story”
  • 2008: Best Novel – “Duma Key”
  • 2008: Best Fiction Collection – “Just After Sunset”
  • 2010: Best Fiction Collection – “Full Dark, No Stars”
  • 2011: Best Short Fiction – “Herman Wouk is Still Alive”
World Horror Convention
  • 1992: Grand Master
Hugo Awards (World Science Fiction Society)
  • 1982: Best SciFi/Fantasy Related Work – “Danse Macabre”
Locus Awards (USA)
  • 1982: Best SciFi/Fantasy Related Nonfiction Book – “Danse Macabre”
  • 1986: Best Collection – “Skeleton Crew”
  • 1997: Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel – “Desperation”
  • 1999: Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel – “Bag of Bones”
  • 2001: Best Nonfiction – “On Writing”
World Fantasy Award
  • 1980: Convention Award
  • 1982: Best Short Fiction – “Do the Dead Sing?”
  • 1995: Best Short Fiction – “The Man in the Black Suit”
  • 2004: Life Achievement Award
British Fantasy Awards
  • 1981: Special Award
  • 1982: Best Novel – “Cujo”
  • 1987: Best Novel – “It”
  • 1999: Best Novel – “Bag of Bones”
  • 2005: Best Novel – “The Dark Tower”

 

Bibliography

Novels
  • Carrie (1974)
  • ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
    30th anniversary illustrated edition 2005.
  • The Shining (1977)
  • The Stand (1978)
    Complete and uncut edition: 1990.
  • The Dead Zone (1979)
  • Firestarter (1980)
  • Cujo (1981)
  • Christine (1983)
  • Pet Sematary (1983)
  • Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
    – Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.
  • The Talisman (1984)
    – With Peter Straub.
  • It (1986)
    – 25th anniversary special edition 2011.
  • Misery (1987)
  • The Tommyknockers (1987)
  • The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
  • The Dark Half (1989)
  • Needful Things (1991)
  • Gerald’s Game (1992)
  • Dolores Claiborne (1992)
  • Insomnia (1994)
  • Rose Madder (1995)
  • The Green Mile (1996)
  • Desperation (1996)
  • Bag of Bones (1998)
  • Storm of the Century (1999)
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
  • The Plant (2000)
    – E-book, initially limited edition private publication, 1983-85.
  • Dreamcatcher (2001)
  • Black House (2001)
    – With Peter Straub; sequel to The Talisman.
  • From a Buick 8 (2002)
  • The Colorado Kid (2005)
  • Cell (2006)
  • Lisey’s Story (2006)
  • Duma Key (2008)
  • Under the Dome (2009)
  • 11/22/63 (2011)
  • Joyland (2013)
  • Doctor Sleep (2013)
    – Sequel to The Shining.
The Dark Tower Series
  • The Gunslinger (1982)
    Revised and expanded edition 2003.
  • The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  • The Waste Lands (1991)
  • Wizard & Glass (1997)
  • Wolves of The Calla (2003)
  • Song of Susannah (2004)
  • The Dark Tower (2004)
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)
Novellas and Short Story Collections
  • Night Shift (1978)
  • Different Seasons (1982)
  • Skeleton Crew (1985)
  • My Pretty Pony (l988-1989)
    – Short story published as a stand-alone.
  • Dolan’s Cadillac (1989)
    – Short story published as a stand-alone.
  • Four Past Midnight (1990)
  • Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993)
  • Six Stories (1997)
  • The New Lieutenant’s Rap (1999)
    – Short story published as a stand-alone.
  • Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
  • Blood and Smoke (1999)
  • Riding the Bullet (2000)
    – E-book.
  • Everything’s Eventual (2002)
  • Just After Sunset (2008)
  • Stephen King Goes to the Movies (2009)
  • Ur (2009)
    – E-book.
  • Blockade Billy (2010)
  • Full Dark, No Stars (2010)
  • Mile 81 (2011)
    – E-book.
  • Throttle (2012)
    – E-book; written with Joe Hill.
  • A Face in the Crowd (2012)
    – E-book; written with Stewart O’Nan.
  • In the Tall Grass (2012)
    – E-book; written with Joe Hill.
Screenplays and Play
  • Creepshow (1982)
    – Screenplay.
  • Storm of the Century (1999)
    – Screenplay.
  • Rose Red (2001)
    – TV miniseries.
  • Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (2013)
    – Play.
Children’s Books
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (2004)
Comic Books
  • Creepshow (1982)
    – Adapted from King’s own screenplay.
  • American Vampire (2011)
    – Written with Scott Snyder and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque.
Nonfiction
  • Danse Macabre (1981)
  • Nightmares in the Sky (1988)
  • Head Down (1993)
  • On Writing (2000)
    A/K/A: Secret Windows (Expanded version with an introduction by Peter Straub; also includes several previously written articles.)
  • Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season (2004)
    – With Stewart Nan.
  • Guns (2013)
    – E-book.
Writing as Richard Bachman
  • The Bachman Books (1985):
    • Rage (1977)
    • The Long Walk (1979)
    • Roadwork (1981)
    • The Running Man (1982)
  • Thinner (1984)
  • The Regulators (1996)
  • Blaze (2007)

 

A Selection of Quotes

On Writing

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

“I have spent a good many years since – too many, I think – being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”

Hearts in Atlantis

“Friends don’t spy; true friendship is about privacy, too.”

‘Salem’s Lot

“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”

Find more quotes by Stephen King on Wikiquote and Goodreads.

 

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