Stephen King, Master of Writing
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine to Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King on September 21, 1947. He had always been a reader; books filled his life and motivated him to write his own stories. He attended the University of Maine, where he earned a B.A. in English. According to his introduction in Carrie, his professional fiction-writing career started just after his graduation from college. A few days after commencement, he wrote an eerie short story titled “Graveyard Shift,” which was published in Cavalier. King received $200 for the story – a great deal of money to a poor young man. Moving from one job to another and selling stories along the way to support his family, King didn’t gain wide-scale recognition until 1974, when – with the help of his wife, Tabitha King – he published his novel Carrie.
Carrie paved the way to the successful writing career of the 41 years that followed. Moreover, King won the reputation among fans and critics alike as the “King of Horror,” one of America’s greatest living authors, and one of the world’s highest-earning ones. But success wasn’t the only thing that took him by surprise: his career – and life – almost ended in 1999, when he was hit by a van and nearly killed. However, after a few years of recovery, King was back to business.
He amazes his “Constant Readers” with his talent and his ability to produce masterpieces of horror, fantasy, the supernatural, historical fiction and, most recently, pure crime fiction. He has 56 novels to his credit, including The Shining, Misery, Pet Sematary and 11/22/63. He has won the Best Hardcover Novel Award from the International Thriller Writers organization for Revival and Mr. Mercedes. He has also written over 200 short stories and novellas, published in several anthologies (Night Shift; Different Seasons; Full Dark, No Stars; and his upcoming The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, to be released on November 3, 2015); 6 nonfiction books (including On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, one of the bestselling books on writing); and screenplays (Storm of the Century). Most of his books have been made and remade into feature films, miniseries, TV shows, plays and comic books. More than 15 movies, TV series and miniseries are currently in the works.
A recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the prolific author was recently awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama.
“Has Stephen King Won Writing?” The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CBS, September 12, 2015. Introduction to Carrie, Pocket Books edition, 1999.