Stephen Edwin King, also known as the “king of horror” for his contribution to this literary genre, was born on September 21st, 1947, in Portland, Maine. King and his older brother were raised by their mother, as their father left the family when Stephen was two. During King’s earlier years, the family of three moved around quite a lot before finally settling in Durham, Maine, when Stephen was eleven years old.
King’s interest in writing and the horror genre can be traced back to his high school years. He was an avid reader of the horror genre in the form of comics, and he also wrote articles for a newspaper his brother ran. Stephen even sold stories to his friends but was forced to return profits he had earned when found out. In 1965, he had his first story, “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber,” published in a fanzine, Comics Review. After graduation, King attended the University of Maine and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1970. He kept on writing during his college years while also working odd jobs to support himself. In 1967, Stephen sold his first professional short story, “The Glass Floor”, to Startling Mystery Stories.
King’s initial intentions after leaving college were to teach but, unable to find a post immediately, relied on selling short stories to magazines (which would be later republished as the collection Night Shift in 1978) until he was finally hired to teach at Hampden Academy in 1971. At the same time, Stephen continued to write short stories for magazines and even drafted two novels, one of them being The Long Walk, published later on under one of his various pseudonyms.
Stephen King’s first novel to be published was Carrie in 1973, marking the beginning of a prolific career that would make him a household name in the horror genre. Over the course of the following years, he wrote some of his most famous novels: Salem’s Lot (1975); The Shining (1977); The Stand (1978); Firestarter (1980); Cujo (1981); Pet Sematary (1983); It (1986); and Misery (1987). All these novels were later adapted to cinema and some have become cult classics. King also delved into comic-book writing, doing a few pages for an X-Men comic, and an intro to a Batman anniversary comic.
In 1977, Stephen began to work on a series of stories that would later develop in his series The Dark Tower, a mixture of fantasy, science fiction and western genres. The series comprises eight books, published with a specific timeline over the course of forty years, from 1978 to 2012. King has never stopped writing and continued to publish successful books such as The Green Mile (1996), Dreamcatcher (2001), Cell (2006), Under the Dome (2009), 11/22/63 (2011), and The Shining’s sequel Doctor Sleep (2013). In addition to books, King has also published collections of short stories, has participated in screen plays and has collaborated with music artists. King is the recipient of numerous literary awards, and is considered an unrivaled master in his genre.