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S. E. Hinton

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S. E. Hinton
BornSusan Eloise Hinton
(1948-07-22) July 22, 1948 (age 75)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
GenreYoung-adult novels, children's books, screenplays[1][2]
Notable awardsMargaret Edwards Award

Susan Eloise Hinton (born July 22, 1948) is an American writer best known for her young-adult novels (YA) set in Oklahoma, especially The Outsiders (1967), which she wrote during high school.[a] Hinton is credited with introducing the YA genre.[4][5]

In 1988, she received the inaugural Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her cumulative contribution in writing for teens.[6][b]


While still in her teens, Hinton became a household name[a] as the author of The Outsiders, her first and most popular novel, set in Oklahoma in the 1960s. She began writing it in 1965.[7] The book was inspired by two rival gangs at her school, Will Rogers High School,[8] the Greasers and the Socs,[3] and her desire to empathize with the Greasers by writing from their point of view.[c] She wrote the novel when she was 16 and it was published in 1967.[10] Since then, the book has sold more than 14 million copies.[8] In 2017, Viking Press stated the book sells over 500,000 copies a year.[3]

Hinton's publisher suggested she use her initials instead of her feminine given names so that the first[11] male book reviewers would not dismiss the novel because its author was female.[7][d] After the success of The Outsiders, Hinton chose to continue writing and publishing using her initials because she did not want to lose what she had made famous[e] and to allow her to keep her private and public lives separate.[f]

Personal life

In interviews, Hinton has said that she is a private person and an introvert who no longer does public appearances.[12] She enjoys reading (Jane Austen, Mary Renault, and F. Scott Fitzgerald),[7] taking classes at the local university, and horseback riding. Hinton also revealed to Vulture that she enjoys writing fan fiction.[13]

She resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband David Inhofe, a software engineer she met in her freshman biology class at college.[8] He is a cousin of former Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe.[14]


The film adaptations The Outsiders (March 1983) and Rumble Fish (October 1983) were both directed by Francis Ford Coppola; Hinton cowrote the script for Rumble Fish with Coppola. Also adapted to film were Tex (July 1982), directed by Tim Hunter, and That Was Then... This Is Now (November 1985), directed by Christopher Cain. Hinton herself acted as a location scout, and she had cameo roles in three of the four films. She plays a nurse in Dallas's hospital room in The Outsiders. In Tex, she is the typing teacher. She also appears as a sex worker propositioning Rusty James in Rumble Fish. In 2009, Hinton portrayed the school principal in The Legend of Billy Fail.[15]

Awards and honors

Hinton received the inaugural 1988 Margaret A. Edwards Award[b] from the American YA librarians, citing her first four YA novels, which had been published from 1967 to 1979 and adapted as films from 1982 to 1985. The annual[b] award recognizes one author of books published in the U.S., and specified works "taken to heart by young adults over a period of years, providing an 'authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives'." The librarians noted that in reading Hinton's novels "a young adult may explore the need for independence and simultaneously the need for loyalty and belonging, the need to care for others, and the need to be cared for by them."[6]

In 1992, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa by the University of Tulsa,[16] and in 1998 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers of Oklahoma State University–Tulsa.[17]


Young adult novels

The five YA novels, her first books published, are Hinton's works most widely held in WorldCat libraries.[18] All are set in Oklahoma, and take place within a shared universe.

Children's books

Adult fiction


  • Great Women Writers, Rita Dove, S.E. Hinton, and Maya Angelou (Princeton NJ: Hacienda Productions, 1999), DVD video — autobiographical accounts by the three authors[18]


  1. ^ a b "Once a teen sensation who wrote her most famous book while still in high school, Hinton is now 59." –Italie[3]
  2. ^ a b c Before 1988 the ALA awards did not distinguish "children's" literature—the Newbery book award and Wilder career award—from that for "young adults". Hinton won the first biennial "Young Adult Services Division/School Library Journal Author Achievement Award", according to plan, but there were only two as it was renamed and made annual after 1990.
    On the last point compare the 1988, 1990, and 1991 Edwards Award citations.
  3. ^ "Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge."[9]
  4. ^ "Viking signed her ... with a suggestion that she call herself S.E. in print, so male critics wouldn't be turned off by a woman writer." –Italie[3]
  5. ^ "I made the name famous. I'm not gonna lose it."[11]
  6. ^ "I like having a private name and a public name. It helps keep things straight."[11]


  1. ^ S.E. Hinton at IMDb.
  2. ^ Pulver, Andrew (October 29, 2004). "When you grow up, your heart dies: SE Hinton's The Outsiders (1983)". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Italie, Hillel (October 3, 2007). "40 years later Hinton's 'The Outsiders' still strikes a chord among the readers". San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  4. ^ Michaud, Jon (October 14, 2014). "S. E. Hinton and the Y.A. Debate". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ Grady, Constance (January 26, 2017). "The Outsiders reinvented young adult fiction. Harry Potter made it inescapable". Vox.
  6. ^ a b "1988 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner" Archived October 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association (ALA).
      "Edwards Award". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions". sehinton.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Smith, Dinitia (September 7, 2005). "An Interview With S. E. Hinton: An Outsider, Out of the Shadow". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Peck, Dale (September 23, 2007). "The Outsiders: 40 Years Later". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "The Outsiders". Penguin Random House. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "Staying Golden". Unsigned review of Hawkes Harbor. New York Press. September 28, 2004. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  12. ^ Saucier, Heather (April 7, 1997). "INSIDE AN OUTSIDER // Noted Tulsa Author Prefers Family Life To Limelight". Tulsa World.
  13. ^ Whitford, Emma (March 13, 2015). "Lev Grossman, S.E. Hinton, and Other Authors on the Freedom of Writing Fanfiction". Vulture.
  14. ^ Smith, Sue. "Tulsans Have Novel Time at Premiere". The Oklahoman. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  15. ^ Legend of Billy Fail at IMDb.
  16. ^ "University of Tulsa Phi Beta Kappa".
  17. ^ "HINTON, SUSAN ELOISE (1949– )" Oklahoma Historical Society.
  18. ^ a b "Hinton, S. E.". WorldCat. Retrieved March 10, 2013.

Further reading

External links