Stephen King to release new book documenting his college years at UMaine

stephen king

Stephen King will release in early November a new book detailing his college years at the University of Maine. “Hearts in Suspension,” to be published by the University of Maine Press, a division of Fogler Library, will be unveiled with a public reading by King and others at the Collins Center for the Arts, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7.

“Hearts in Suspension” combines a previously published novella, a new essay, essays from his friends and colleagues, photos and other documents and five of King’s vintage newspaper columns from The Maine Campus, UMaine’s student newspaper. The Nov. 7 event will include a reading of the book and discussion of King’s student days at UMaine during the turbulent Vietnam War era, followed by a conversation with his former classmates and friends who were at UMaine with him during this time, and who co-authored the collection.

“Hearts in Suspension” will pair a reprint of King’s novella “Hearts in Atlantis,” previously published in the 1999 collection of the same name, with a new essay titled “Five to One, One in Five,” in which he reflects on his undergraduate years, creating “a revealing portrait of the artist as (a) young man and a ground-level tableau of this highly charged time.” The book publication coincides with the 50th anniversary of King’s first semester at the University of Maine, followed by the escalating Vietnam War and social unrest nationwide, especially on college and university campuses. Those years had “a profound impact on students of the period and deeply influenced King’s development as a writer and a man,” according to the publisher.

Along with photographs and documents of this era at UMaine are four installments of King’s column in The Maine Campus, “King’s Garbage Truck.” The columns, reprinted for the first time, are described by the publisher as “lively examples of King’s damn-the-torpedoes style.”

The book also features essays by 12 of King’s classmates and friends, including Jim Bishop, who taught King when he was at UMaine, alongside Burton Hatlen; Bishop has also written the book’s introduction. Michael Alpert, David Bright, Keith Carreiro, Harold Crosby, Sherry Dec, Bruce Holsapple, Frank Kadi, Diane McPherson, Larry Moskowitz, Jim H. Smith and Philip Thompson also have contributed essays. “Hearts in Suspension” is dedicated in memory of Hatlen and two of King’s other inspirational professors at UMaine: Edward “Ted” Holmes and Edward “Sandy” Ives.

Tickets are free and available according to the following timeline: Members of the University of Maine community can register for one ticket each with a MaineCard at the CCA box office, during normal box office hours, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 12–14. Members of the public can register for two tickets per person online at or at the CCA box office beginning Oct. 17. All tickets are general admission and will be available for pick up, with photo ID, at the Collins Center for the Arts box office beginning at 1 p.m. Nov. 7. For further ticket information or to request a disability accommodation, call 581-1755.

Copies of “Hearts in Suspension” will be for sale at the Collins Center following the event, and available at bookstores nationwide after Nov. 7. Copies may also be pre-ordered now from the University of Maine Press website.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.