Stephen King is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy.
Let’s see some interesting facts about him!
1. Stephen Edwin King was born September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine.
2. His father, Donald Edwin King, was born circa 1913 in Peru, Indiana, and was a merchant seaman.
3. When Donald was born, his surname was Pollock, but as an adult, he used the surname King.
4. King’s mother, Nellie Ruth, was born in Scarborough, Maine.
5. Donald and Nellie were married July 23, 1939, in Cumberland County, Maine.
6. When Stephen King was two years old, his father left the family under the pretense of “going to buy a pack of cigarettes”, leaving his mother to raise Stephen and his older brother, David, by herself, sometimes under great financial strain.
7. The family moved to De Pere, Wisconsin, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was 11, the family returned to Durham, Maine, where his mother cared for her parents until their deaths.
8. She then became a caregiver in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged. King was raised Methodist and remains religious as an adult.
9. As a child, King apparently witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event.
10. His family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned, speechless and seemingly in shock.
11. Only later did the family learn of the friend’s death. Some commentators have suggested that this event may have psychologically inspired some of King’s darker works, but King makes no mention of it in his memoir On Writing (2000).
12. King related in detail his primary inspiration for writing horror fiction in his non-fiction Danse Macabre (1981), in a chapter titled “An Annoying Autobiographical Pause”. King compares his uncle’s successfully dowsing for water using the bough of an apple branch with the sudden realization of what he wanted to do for a living.
13. That inspiration occurred while browsing through an attic with his elder brother, when King uncovered a paperback version of an H. P. Lovecraft collection of short stories he remembers as The Lurker in the Shadows, that had belonged to his father.
14. King told Barnes & Noble Studios during a 2009 interview, “I knew that I’d found home when I read that book.”
15. King attended Durham Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon Falls High School, in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He displayed an early interest in horror as an avid reader of EC’s horror comics, including Tales from the Crypt (he later paid tribute to the comics in his screenplay for Creepshow).
16. He began writing for fun while still in school, contributing articles to Dave’s Rag, the newspaper his brother published with a mimeograph machine, and later began selling to his friends stories based on movies he had seen (though when discovered by his teachers, he was forced to return the profits).
17. The first of his stories to be independently published was “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber”; it was serialized over four issues (three published and one unpublished) of a fanzine, Comics Review, in 1965.
18. That story was published the following year in a revised form as “In a Half-World of Terror” in another fanzine, Stories of Suspense, edited by Marv Wolfman.
19, As a teen, King also won a Scholastic Art and Writing Award.
20. From 1966, King studied at the University of Maine, graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
21. That year, his daughter Naomi Rachel was born. He wrote a column, Steve King’s Garbage Truck, for the student newspaper, The Maine Campus and participated in a writing workshop organized by Burton Hatlen.
22. King held a variety of jobs to pay for his studies, including janitor, gas pump attendant, and worker at an industrial laundry.
23. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television shows, and comic books.
24. King has published 54 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and six non-fiction books. He has written nearly 200 short stories, most of which have been collected in book collections.
25. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine. His novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption was the basis for the movie The Shawshank Redemption which is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
26. King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. His novella The Way Station (1980) was a Nebula Award novelette nominee.
27. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
28. His short story “The Man in the Black Suit” (1994) received the O. Henry Award. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire oeuvre, 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).
29. In 2015, King was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the United States National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature.
30. King and his wife Tabitha own and occupy three different houses: one in Bangor, Maine, one in Lovell, Maine, and for the winter a waterfront mansion located off the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, Florida. He and Tabitha have three children, Naomi, Joseph Hillstrom King (pen name Joe Hill) and Owen King, and four grandchildren.
31. King’s addictions to alcohol and other drugs were so serious during the 1980s that, as he acknowledged in On Writing in 2000, he can barely remember writing Cujo.
32. Shortly after the novel’s publication, King’s family and friends staged an intervention, dumping on the rug in front of him evidence of his addictions taken from his office including beer cans, cigarette butts, grams of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, dextromethorphan (cough medicine) and marijuana.
33. As King related in his memoir, he then sought help, quit all drugs (including alcohol) in the late 1980s, and has remained sober since.
34. The first novel he wrote after becoming sober was Needful Things.
35. Nine novels by Tabitha King have been published. Both of Stephen and Tabitha King’s sons are published authors: Owen King published his first collection of stories, We’re All in This Together: A Novella and Stories, in 2005.
36. Joseph Hillstrom King, who writes under the professional name Joe Hill, published a collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts, in 2005.
37. His debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box, was published in 2007 and will be adapted into a feature film by director Neil Jordan.
38. King’s daughter Naomi is a Unitarian Universalist Church minister in Plantation, Florida, with her same-sex partner, Rev. Dr. Thandeka.
39. King is a fan of baseball, and of the Boston Red Sox in particular; he frequently attends the team’s home and away games, and occasionally mentions the team in his novels and stories.
40. He helped coach his son Owen’s Bangor West team to the Maine Little League Championship in 1989. He recounts this experience in the New Yorker essay “Head Down”, which appears also in the collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
41. In 1999, King wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, featuring former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon as the protagonist’s imaginary companion.
42. In 2004, King co-wrote a book titled Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season with Stewart O’Nan, recounting the authors’ roller-coaster reaction to the Red Sox’s 2004 season, a season culminating in the Sox winning the 2004 American League Championship Series and World Series.
43. In the 2005 film Fever Pitch, about an obsessive Boston Red Sox fan, King tosses out the first pitch of the Sox’s opening-day game.