In this episode of The Archive Project, we feature the legendary writer, Stephen King, who appeared at the Newmark Theatre for a Literary Arts Special Event in 2006.
King first published in 1967 and went on to write some of the most iconic pop culture classics of the last half century, many of which were made into Hollywood films, including The Shining, Misery, and The Green Mile. He wrote over seventy-five books of fiction and nonfiction, not to mention countless screenplays. His work is difficult to define; a mixture of psychological horror, fantasy, realism, and occasional whimsical and/or satirical humor. He was certainly one the best-selling author of the second half of the 20th century.
In this talk, King regales the audience with stories, real and imagined, with his signature mastery of plot, suspense, and hilarious punch lines that define his work. He ranges from his early days working at an industrial laundry facility where he made $1.60 an hour, to how the plots of some of his most famous novels where constructed. Throughout you can hear the tension between King’s pop culture credentials and the judgement of literary establishment, between King’s working-class roots and so-called “high” culture.
When he joined us in 2006, he had just published Lisey’s Story, and both talks about writing it and reads a few pages from the book. Throughout King is self-deprecating, hilarious, and also serious about craft.
“People ask me, ‘Do you have bad dreams?’ and I say to them, ‘Yes. When I don’t write, I have bad dreams.’”
Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Fairy Tale, Billy Summers, If It Bleeds, The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and a television series streaming on Peacock). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower, It, Pet Sematary, and Doctor Sleep are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest-grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2020 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.