This letter from a 14-year-old Stephen King is prophetic of his later career

Stephen King, pictured here in his 1966 yearbook photo from Lisbon High School.

Stephen King, pictured here in his 1966 yearbook photo from Lisbon High School.

Sometimes, things were just meant to be. Case in point: the long and illustrious career of Stephen King. Though it’s been more than 40 years since his first novel, “Carrie,” was published, the author seemed destined to be a writer since his earliest days.

A letter to former science fiction periodical Spacemen Magazine, from a 14-year-old King, surfaced several years ago on the exceedingly entertaining website Letters of Note. While it’s been five years since we first saw the letter, it’s worth revisiting as King prepares to revisit another early period with the publication of “Hearts in Suspension,” detailing his years at UMaine.

Anyway, you can see an actual copy of the letter on the website (as well as a cute picture of a very young King), but we’ve transcribed the content of it here. The polite young author asks for his story, “The Killer,” to be considered for the “O. Henry’s Comet” section of the magazine. The letter reads:

Dear Editor,

I am 14 years of age, and have been writing as far back as I can remember, and submitting manuscripts for the last couple of years. I subscribe to your magazine, and my favorite feature is the Obituary department, although “O. Henry’s Comet,” for which this story is intended, runs a close second.

Thanks very much for reading my story. I hope you see your way to clear to put it in “O. Henry’s Comet.”


Stephen King
Route 1, Pownal, Maine

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.