Stephen Edwin King (photo ©pinguino k) was born on September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine, USA.
Stephen King’s childhood was marked by two events. When he was 2 years old, his father abandoned his family, forcing his mother to take many jobs to raise her two children, often staying away from home all day or night. When he was 3 years old, he saw a friend with whom he was playing near a train hit by a train and killed, an event he has no memory of.
When the time came for him to start elementary schools, Stephen King was hit by the measles and later had various health problems. It was in that period that he started reading a lot and writing stories. In the following years he published various stories and articles of various types on school journals.
In 1966 Stephen King went to study English at the University of Maine. There he met Tabitha, who in 1971 became his wife. In 1970, the two of them had their first daughter, Naomi Rachel. In 1972, the two of them had their first son, Joseph Hillstrom. In those years King was trying to become a professional writer but had to take other jobs to earn enough money for a family that was expanding.
In 1974, the situation for Stephen King and his family radically changed when he published his first novel, “Carrie”, which had little success with only 13,000 copies sold in its hardback edition but then surpassed the million copies sold in the first year in its paperback edition. The novel was adapted for cinema for the first time in 1976, followed by a king of sequel in 1999 and two further adaptations, one in 2002 and one in 2013.
The success of his first novel allowed Stephen King to devote himself full time to his career as a writer but those stressful years left the mark in an alcoholism that was aggravated by his mother’s death. For a few years, however, King was able to continue his work by publishing “Salem’s Lot” in 1975 and “Shining” in 1977. His son Owen Philip was born in 1977.
In 1977 Stephen King also published his first novel with the pen name Richard Bachman, “Rage”, a psychological thriller / horror. Years later, he asked his publisher not to reprint it because it was linked to some real shootings in American schools.
By the end of the 1970s, Stephen King had become famous and published several other highly successful novels that were adapted for cinema and in some cases for television. “The Dead Zone” was adapted into a 1983 movie and the central idea was developed differently in a TV show that began in 2002 and lasted for six seasons.
In 1982, Stephen King published “The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger”, the first novel in the Black Tower series, the result of the union of five stories published in previous years. The novel was revised in 2003. In the following years six sequels were published and in 2012 “The Wind Through the Keyhole” was published, chronologically placed between the fourth and fifth novel.
In 1983, “The Talisman” was published, written by Stephen King together with his colleague Peter Straub. The novel had a sequel in 2001 with “Black House”.
During the 1980s, Stephen King’s fame kept on growing but his addiction problems became increasingly serious as he was drinking, smoking and taking cocaine and other drugs. Eventually, in the second half of the 1980s, a long detoxification treatment began. The first novel written after solving his problems was “Needful Things”, published in 1991.
Stephen King was at that point considered the king of horror but in his novels there were often foundations of other genres, from science fiction in “The Tommyknockers” to drama in “Rose Madder“. In a number of cases, the stories have at least in part as their protagonists children or teenagers, for example “It”.
In 1996, Stephen King published two novels connected to each other at the same time: “Desperation” with his name and “The Regulators” as Richard Bachman, reviving that pen name after more than a decade because it was discovered for the first time he used it without any secrets.
In 1998, the episode “Chinga” of the fifth season of “The X-Files” was broadcast in the USA, written by Stephen King together with the TV show’s creator and executive producer Chris Carter.
On June 19, 1999, Stephen King was seriously injured after being hit by a minivan. The writer was forced to limit his activity for some time but over the years he still managed to publish various novels, including “Blaze” written in the 1970s but remained unpublished for a long time, which was published under the pen name Richard Bachman in 2007.
In recent years, Stephen King has resumed writing steadfastly, for example the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. In the first phase of his career he was snubbed but over time even critics got convinced by Stephen King’s works’ literary value so today he’s considered much more than the king of horror but simply a great writer.