Horror Fiction Writer Stephen King: He Was Once a High School Teacher

stephen_king[1]Most people are very familiar with the popular novels and short stories of talented horror fiction writer Stephen King, but did you know he was once a high school teacher?

Stephen was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. His father was a merchant seaman, and his mother was a kitchen worker in a facility for the developmentally handicapped. When Stephen was only two years old, his father abandoned the family, and thereafter his mother struggled to support herself, Stephen, and Stephen’s older brother, David.

When he was young, Stephen attended Durham Elementary School, and then Lisbon Falls High School in Lisbon Falls, Maine, where he graduated in 1966. Even as a child, Stephen displayed an interest in horror fiction. He was an avid reader of EC’s horror comics, which included the stories of Tales from the Crypt.  He began writing for his own amusement, contributing articles to Dave’s Rag, a home-based newspaper his brother published with a mimeograph machine. Later he began selling stories to his classmates based on movies he had seen, though he was forced to return his profits when his teachers discovered the enterprise. The first of Stephen’s stories to be independently published was “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber,” published in a popular fanzine in 1965.

Following Stephen’s graduation from high school in 1966, he enrolled as a student at the University of Maine, Orono, declaring a major in English. During his college years, he wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Maine Campus, entitled “Steve King’s Garbage Truck,” participated in writing workshops, and took odd jobs to help meet his living expenses, including one stint at an industrial laundry.  He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student  Senate. He sold his first professional short story, “The Glass Floor,” to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967.

After graduating from the university in 1970, Stephen earned his high school teaching credential, but was unable to find a teaching position right away. To earn a living, he sold short stories to men’s magazines such as Cavalier. In 1971, Stephen was hired to teach at Hampden Academy, a public high school in Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels. After his novel Carrie was published, Stephen left his job as a high school teacher to write full time, but he continued his career as an educator when he was hired as a professor of creative writing at the University of Maine, Orono.

Today, Stephen King and his family live in Bangor, Maine. His wife, Tabitha King, is also a successful author. Stephen and Tabitha provide scholarships for local high school students and  contribute to many other local and national charities.