Biography of Stephen Edwin KingGeneral Knowledge »
American Novelist Stephen Edwin King Biography
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Stephen Edwin King is an American Author, Novelist, Actor, Director, Producer and Screenwriter, but most of all, Stephen Edwin is noted for his excellence in contemporary horror, fantasy and science fiction. Better known as King, the author displays a scrupulous and meticulous knowledge in the horror and science genre and its history.
King is also known as “Richard Bachman” and sometimes “John Swithen”, pseudonyms he used for his many works. King’s first success as a writer came with the novel Carrie which was a phenomenon story of a girl with psychic powers. However, his best work remains a series of stories published as The Dark Tower, a mixture of fantasy and science.
The series was published in published in five installments in four decades, beginning from the 1970s to the 2000s. Many of his works have been adapted in to films, plays, comics and television series. King has received numerous awards and prizes among which the most notable is the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, awarded in 2003.
Stephen Edwin King Childhood & Education
Stephen King was born on 21 September 1947 in Portland, Maine in the United States. His father left the family when he was very young and his mother took him and his adopted brother to Indiana, Stratford, Connecticut. The family returned to Durham, Maine after few years where his mother took a job of a caterer and raised her children with her scanty income.
King began his education with the Durham Elementary School where his early interest for horror surfaced for the first time. Throughout his school life, King was an ardent reader of EC’s horror comics, including Tales from the Crypt. King began writing stories while still a student and contributed articles to newspapers. His first work entitled I was a Teenage Grave Robber was published in 1965. The work was later published as In a Half – World of Terror.
In 1966, King enrolled in the University of Maine, where Stephen Edwin studied English for next four years and graduated in 1970 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in English. While at college, he wrote a column for the college newspaper The Maine Campus and wrote his first professional short story for publication entitled The Glass Floor. The story was published in Startling Mystery Stories in 1967.
Stephen Edwin King Early Life & Career
While at college, King supported his education and family’s hard pressed finance by taking small jobs and selling his stories to various magazines. Initially wanted to become a teacher, King began writing short stories for magazines after he failed to obtain a teaching job immediately. During this period, Stephen Edwin met and fell in love with a fellow student Tabitha Spruce. The couple married in 1971 and in the same year, King was appointed as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Maine. While teaching there, King continued to write stories and working on his future novels. During this period, King became addicted to alcohol and drugs and would lead a life troubled by his addiction to drugs like marijuana until late 1980s.
King’s first success came as a novelist with his novel Carrie, depicting a girl with psychic powers. The novel was first published in 1971 by publishing house Doubleday. Though he received a scanty amount for the novel, the reception of this book was warm and made him a known name in the literary world of America.
By this time the author had become addicted to the alcohol to the extent of getting drunk on his mother’s funeral, who died in 1974 after a long phase of illness. King next wrote The Shining, which was published in 1977 followed by his fourth novel The Stand, published in the next year.
Success as a Stephen Edwin King Writer
During 1970s, King embarked on writing a series of interrelated stories. The collection would become known as The Dark Tower Stories and were first published by the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. They were published in five installments beginning from 1977 till 1981. The collection is believed to be one of his masterpieces and would be published till the early 2000s.
Due to the lack of proper publicity of the book, it received a lukewarm response initially though, The Dark Tower : The Gunslinger was the first stunning success of his fantasy fiction. With the success of the book, King Edwin found himself in the front row of the fantasy and horror fiction writers. During 2000s, King modified the original version of the book The Dark Tower : The Gunslinger which was published in 2003.
King continued to write short stories, with a pace slower than previous and produced novels – Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), The Running Man (1982) and Thinner (1984). All these books carried the pseudonym Richard Bachman. In 1999, King was struck by a car and was badly injured in a hideous accident that left him with a broken leg and punctured lungs.
Stephen Edwin never recovered completely and in a moment of melancholy, thought of retirement. However, he later changed him mind and resumed work on his unfinished novel On Writing. He also wrote an account of the accident in the last book of the Dark Tower series.
Stephen Edwin King’s Family & Children
King married his wife Tabitha in 1971 and the couple has three children; two sons Owen King and Joseph Hillstrom and a daughter Naomi. Both of his sons took up the profession of their father and now are reputed authors. In 2005, Joseph Hillstrom was honored for his collection of short stories 20th Century Ghosts and his first novel Heart – Shaped Box will be soon adapted into a film by an Irish director Neil Jordan.
King’s daughter Naomi has served as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church in New York and is now minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Plantation, Florida. King and Tabitha also have three grandchildren.
Stephen Edwin King Awards & Honors
Since the release of on writing, Cujo and The Shining, King has become of the best selling novelists and the most successful writer in the history of horror. Many of his books have been adapted in to movies and serials with many of them featuring King himself. King has been awarded 6 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Horror Guild Awards, 5 Locus Awards, 3 World Fantasy Awards, Hugo Award. His best rewards came in 2003, when Stephen Edwin was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Horror Writer’s Association.
In 2003, Stephen Edwin was also given the most disputed and controversial award, a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters which was not well taken by some in the literary world. The reason why the selection of his name for the award outraged many critics and authors, was what they described his works as “of low quality and non – literature” However, many from the elite literary group came forward in his support and dismissed such ideas.
In 2007, another Lifetime achievement award was given to him by the Canadian Literary Guild, making him the only non-Canadian to receive this award.
Stephen Edwin Timeline
- 1947 – Stephen King was born on 21 September.
- 1965 – His first work entitled I was a Teenage Grave Robber was published.
- 1966 – King enrolled in the University of Maine.
- 1967 – His first professional short story for publication entitled The Glass Floor was published.
- 1970 – Stephen Edwin graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in English.
- 1971 – King married Tabitha.
- 1971 – His first successful novel Carrie was published.
- 1974 – His mother died after a long illness.
- 1977 – The first book of the Dark Tower series was published.
- 1999 – King was struck by a car and was badly injured.
- 2003 – The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger was published in 2003.
- 2003 – King was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Horror Writer’s Association.
- 2003 – King was awarded a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
- 2005 – King’s son Joseph Hillstrom was honored for his collection of short stories 20th Century Ghosts.
- 2007 – Another Lifetime achievement award was given to him by the Canadian Literary Guild.