Stephen King: A Literary Giant I Oxford Open Learning
Stephen King

Stephen King: A Literary Giant

We’re well into September now, a month we associate with going back to school, with the days getting progressively shorter, with crisp mornings and bright blue skies. For literature giant Stephen King, it is his birthday month (21st September 1947). For those that don’t know, Stephen King is one of the most famous modern writers writing in English – particularly for those that have a penchant for horror stories.

Popular And Prolific

King is extremely prolific – he has written over 50 novels, many of which have been made into films, as well as countless short stories, and non-fiction, too (for those of you who hanker after a career as a writer, I would whole-heartedly recommend King’s On Writing, published in 2010). Not only is King a very famous writer under his own name, but he has written under a pseudonym, too – Richard Bachman. There is something about this time of year when reading a creepy novel, such as those favoured by King, seem more appealing. Think: crisp leaves, long shadows, smoke spiralling from chimneys…

Stephen King Titles To Try

So, where to start with Stephen King? Well, this is tricky as some people love the classic The Shining, set in a remote hotel with a madman on the loose, whereas others prefer something more fantastical, such as The Stand – a post-apocalyptic novel written in the 1970s. As with all reading, it is very much a case of personal taste. However, if you want some advice on where to start, I suggest the following:

• The brilliant novella The Body, which is what the film Stand By Me is based on. In this coming-of-age story, a group of boys stumble across a dead body.
Misery – one of King’s most well-known novels about a novelist, Paul Sheldon, and his ‘number one fan’ and obsessive, Annie Wilkes. This is also a film and not one for the squeamish…
• Short stories: King has written so many brilliant tales, it is hard to know where to start. Think about some of the titles: ‘The Ten O’Clock People’ and ‘The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands’

Hopefully this is enough to make you want to dig in and enjoy. You can’t really go wrong with a collection of King’s short stories.

If you aren’t familiar with Stephen King, perhaps you should give him a go. Some people are snobby about his work and say it isn’t proper literature, but a writer like King, who has been writing regularly since he was seven (so, just shy of seventy years!) is certainly doing something right. You might want to keep your light on, though, in case you get a fright or two…



Image: Pinguino Kolb:

See more by

Stay Connected