Tabitha King

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Tabitha King
Born Tabitha Jane Spruce
(1949-03-24) March 24, 1949 (age 65)
Old Town, Maine, United States
Occupation Author, Activist
Genres Horror, fantasy, science fiction
Spouse(s) Stephen King (1971–present)
Children Naomi King
Joe King
Owen King

Tabitha Jane King (née Spruce; born March 24, 1949) is an American author and activist.[1][2][3] She is married to writer Stephen King.[4]

Personal life[edit]

King attended college at The University of Maine, where she met her husband Stephen King through her work-study job in the Raymond H. Fogler Library. The two married on January 7, 1971.
King had her first child, Naomi Rachel King, in 1970. She gave birth to Joseph Hillstrom King in 1972 and Owen Phillip King in 1977.[5]

King's first novel, Small World, was published in 1981 by Signet Books.[6] She has published eight novels and two works of non-fiction.[7][8] In 2006 she published Candles Burning through Berkley Books.[9][10] The book was predominantly written by Michael McDowell, with the McDowell family requesting that King finish the work.[11]

Social activism[edit]

King has served on several boards and committees in the state of Maine, such as the Bangor Public Library board.[12] She served on the board of the Maine Public Broadcasting System until 1994,[13] and has received a Constance Carlson award for her work with literacy for the state of Maine.[14]

She currently serves as vice president of WZON/WZLO/WKIT, as well as in the administration of two family philanthropic foundations.[12]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters, University of Maine in Orono (May 1987)
  • Dowd Achievement Award (1992)[15]
  • Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize (1998)[14][16]

Reception and criticism[edit]

Reception to King's work has been mixed to positive.[17][18][19] Pearl received positive mentions from the Los Angeles Times and the Bangor Daily Times,[20][21] while the Chicago Tribune panned Survivor.[22] The Arizona Daily Star criticized One on One, calling King "a hack",[23] whereas Entertainment Weekly, Time, and the Rocky Mountain News gave the novel positive reviews.[24][25][26] Caretakers received positive praise by the New York Times,[27] while wrote that some readers might be disappointed by the changes made to McDowell's Candles Burning.[28]

Janice Delaney commented on Small World, saying that the "hidden, embarrassing aspects of menstruation are given unusual treatment by Tabitha King".[29]



  • (1981) Small World
  • (1983) Caretakers *
  • (1985) The Trap (also published as Wolves at the Door) *
  • (1988) Pearl *
  • (1993) One on One *
  • (1994) The Book of Reuben *
  • (1997) Survivor
  • (2006) Candles Burning (with Michael McDowell)

Entries marked with an asterisk are set in King's fictional community of Nodd's Ridge.


  • The Sky in the Water[5]
  • The Devil's Only Friend


  • (1994) Playing Like a Girl; Cindy Blodgett and the Lawrence Bulldogs Season of 93-94
  • (1994) Mid-life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude

Short Stories[edit]

  • (1981) The Blue Chair
  • (1998) Djinn and Tonic
  • (2002) The Woman's Room


  • (1967) A Gradual Canticle for Augustine
  • (1967) Elegy for Ike
  • (1968) Note 1 from Herodotus
  • (1970) Nonsong
  • (1971) The Last Vampire: A Baroque Fugue

Contributions and compilations[edit]

  • Murderess Ink: The Better Half of the Mystery, Dilys Winn, ed., Bell, 1979
  • Shadows, Volume 4, C. L. Grant, ed., Doubleday, 1981
  • Midlife Confidential, ed. David Marsh et al., photographs by Tabitha King, Viking Penguin, 1994


  1. ^ Dooley, Jeff (Jun 2, 1985). "Terror Mistress Tabitha King Spins A Thriller". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Forsberg, Helen (March 28, 1993). "ONE ON ONE WITH TABITHA KING HORROR WRITER'S WIFE CARVES LITERARY NICHE". THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Keyes, Bob (June 4, 2006). "Tabitha King's passion burns brightly". Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Vincent, Bev. "Onyx interviews: Tabitha King". Onyx. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Donovan, Mark. "For Years, Stephen King's Firestarter Was Wife Tabitha; Now She Burns to Write, Too". People. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Ketner, Lisa (Oct 17, 1994). "Tabitha King Fans Meet Author". Sun Journal. 
  8. ^ Anstead, Alicia (Mar 16, 1993). "Tabitha King in the Limelight". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Sullivan, James (June 4, 2006). "Drama Queen". Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Copeland, Blythe (June 2007). "Stepping Out of a Big Shadow". Writer's Digest. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Drew, Bernard A. (2009). Literary Afterlife: The Posthumous Continuations of 325 Authors' Fictional Characters. McFarland & Company. p. 169. ISBN 0786441798. 
  12. ^ a b "122nd Legislature celebrates National Women’s History Month March 2005: Tabitha King (b. 1949)". Maine Senate. March 2005. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  13. ^ Garland, Nancy (December 3, 1994). "Tabitha King quits as trustee MPBC controversy grows since program". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Rogers, Lisa (January 1, 1999). "Maine awards new prize to novelist Tabitha King". Humanities: the Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
  15. ^ "Tabitha And Stephen King To Receive Chamber's 1992 Award .". Bangor Daily News. Nov 13, 1991. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Anstead, Alicia (Oct 16, 1998). "Tabitha King wins Carlson award Author lauded for literacy efforts". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  17. ^ Robinson, Evalyne (November 27, 1994). "LOST SLEEP, LOST LIFE PROPEL PENS OF KINGS THE BOOK OF REUBEN". Daily Press (Newport News, VA). Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  18. ^ Slater, Joyce (February 28, 1993). "Teenage basketball, teenage sex, and a tenor who ought to be stopped". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Hall-Balduf, Susan (March 21, 1993). "Books". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  20. ^ Simon, Linda (March 19, 1989). "Hester's Liberated Daughter PEARL by Tabitha King". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Beaulieu, Janet (November 8, 1988). "'Pearl' gleams as both a character and novel". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  22. ^ Fallik, Dawn (May 8, 1997). "TABITHA KING'S `SURVIVOR' FAILS TO RING TRUE". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  23. ^ "Tabitha King's `One' is the work of a hack". Arizona Daily Star. May 2, 1993. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  24. ^ Hajari, Nisid. "Review: One on One". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  25. ^ Skow, John (February 22, 1993). "Home Games". Time. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  26. ^ Graham, Mark (April 4, 1993). "THE 'OTHER' KING COMES INTO HER OWN". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  27. ^ Bass, Judy (October 23, 1983). "Fiction in Brief". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  28. ^ Hartlaub, Joe. "Candles Burning". Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  29. ^ Delaney, Janice (1988). The Curse : A Cultural History of Menstruation. University of Illinois Press. p. 206. ISBN 0252014529. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mcaleer, Patrick. The Writing Family of Stephen King: A Critical Study of the Fiction of Tabitha King, Joe Hill and Owen King. McFarland. 2011.

External links[edit]