Arts & Life

Taking Stephen King Seriously

Book Industry Honors Author with Distinguished Writer Award

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Stephen King

Stephen King is receiving the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, which also bestows the prestigious National Book Awards. Chris Buck hide caption

toggle caption Chris Buck

Wolves of the Calla, part of the Dark Tower series, is Stephen King's latest book. hide caption

toggle caption
This item is available for purchase online. Your purchase helps support NPR.

Critics have rarely embraced Stephen King as a serious writer. But the prolific novelist, best known for his horror stories, is about to enter some serious company. The National Book Foundation is honoring the best-selling author with a lifetime achievement award whose previous recipients have included Arthur Miller, Eudora Welty and John Updike. King discusses the award and his writing with NPR's Susan Stamberg.

Beginning with 1974's Carrie, King has published 40 books and more than 200 short stories. The author of The Shining, Pet Sematary, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption resents being pegged in one genre.

"It's always made me uneasy to be called a horror writer or a suspense writer," King tells Stamberg on Morning Edition. "They're hooks to hang your hat on and I reject them. I've never denied that I was a horror writer, but I've never introduced myself as that either. I see myself as Stephen King. I'm an American novelist, and that's it."



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from