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Tabitha King

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Tabitha King
BornTabitha Jane Spruce
(1949-03-24) March 24, 1949 (age 71)
Old Town, Maine, U.S.
Genre Horror, fantasy, science fiction
Stephen King (m. 1971)
ChildrenNaomi King
Joe Hill
Owen King

Tabitha Jane King (née Spruce, born March 24, 1949) is an American author, and the wife of Stephen King. [1] [2] [3] [4]


Personal life

Tabitha King is the 3rd eldest daughter of Sarah Jane Spruce (née White; December 7, 1923 – April 14, 2007) [5] and Raymond George Spruce (December 29, 1923 – May 29, 2014). [6] 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. [7] 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. [8]

As of 2006, King had published eight novels and two works of non-fiction. [9] [10] She published her first novel, Small World, through Signet Books in 1981, [11] and in 2006, Candles Burning was published through Berkley Books. [12] [13] Candles Burning was written predominantly by Michael McDowell, who died in 1999, and the McDowell family requested that King finish the work. [14]

Social activism

King has served on several boards and committees in the state of Maine, such as the Bangor Public Library board. [15] She also served on the board of the Maine Public Broadcasting System until 1994. [16] She received a Constance Carlson award for her work with literacy for the state of Maine. [17]

She currently serves as vice president of WZON/WZLO/WKIT radio stations as well as in the administration of two family philanthropic foundations. [15]


Reception to King's work has been mixed to positive. [18] [19] [20] Pearl received positive mentions from the Los Angeles Times and the Bangor Daily News, [21] [22] while the Chicago Tribune panned Survivor. [23] The Arizona Daily Star criticized One on One, calling King "a hack", [24] whereas Entertainment Weekly , Time , and the Rocky Mountain News gave the novel positive reviews. [25] [26] [27] Caretakers received positive praise by The New York Times , [28] while wrote that some readers might be disappointed by the changes made to McDowell's Candles Burning. [29]

Awards and recognition



  • (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.


  • (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

  • (1981) The Blue Chair
  • (1985) The Demonstration
  • (1986) Road Kill
  • (1998) Djinn and Tonic
  • (2002) The Woman's Room
  • (2011) Archie Smith, Boy Wonder


  • (1967) A Gradual Canticle for Augustine [33]
  • (1967) Elegy for Ike [34]
  • (1968) Note 1 from Herodotus [34]
  • (1970) Nonsong [34]
  • (1971) The Last Vampire: A Baroque Fugue [35]


Contributions and compilations

  • 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

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  4. Keyes, Bob (June 4, 2006). "Tabitha King's passion burns brightly". Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  7. "For Years, Stephen King's Firestarter Was Wife Tabitha, Now She Burns to Write, Too".
  8. Vincent, Bev. "Onyx interviews: Tabitha King". Onyx. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
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  11. Donovan, Mark. "For Years, Stephen King's Firestarter Was Wife Tabitha; Now She Burns to Write, Too". People. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  12. Sullivan, James (June 4, 2006). "Drama Queen". Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  13. Copeland, Blythe (June 2007). "Stepping Out of a Big Shadow". Writer's Digest. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  14. Drew, Bernard A. (2009). Literary Afterlife: The Posthumous Continuations of 325 Authors' Fictional Characters. McFarland & Company. p. 169. ISBN   978-0786441792.
  15. 1 2 "122nd Legislature celebrates National Women's History Month March 2005: Tabitha King (b. 1949)". Maine Senate. March 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  16. Garland, Nancy (December 3, 1994). "Tabitha King quits as trustee MPBC controversy grows since program". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  17. 1 2 Rogers, Lisa (January 1, 1999). "Maine awards new prize to novelist Tabitha King". Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  18. 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.
  19. Slater, Joyce (February 28, 1993). "Teenage basketball, teenage sex, and a tenor who ought to be stopped". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  20. Hall-Balduf, Susan (March 21, 1993). "Books". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  21. Simon, Linda (March 19, 1989). "Hester's Liberated Daughter PEARL by Tabitha King". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  22. Beaulieu, Janet (November 8, 1988). "'Pearl' gleams as both a character and novel". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  23. Fallik, Dawn (May 8, 1997). "TABITHA KING'S `SURVIVOR' FAILS TO RING TRUE". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  24. "Tabitha King's `One' is the work of a hack". Arizona Daily Star. May 2, 1993. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  25. Hajari, Nisid. "Review: One on One". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  26. Skow, John (February 22, 1993). "Home Games". Time. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  27. Graham, Mark (April 4, 1993). "THE 'OTHER' KING COMES INTO HER OWN". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  28. Bass, Judy (October 23, 1983). "Fiction in Brief". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  29. Hartlaub, Joe. "Candles Burning". Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  30. "Tabitha King". Bangorpedia. Archived from the original on 2014-06-15.
  31. "Tabitha And Stephen King To Receive Chamber's 1992 Award ". Bangor Daily News. Nov 13, 1991. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  32. Anstead, Alicia (Oct 16, 1998). "Tabitha King wins Carlson award Author lauded for literacy efforts". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  33. On Writing
  34. 1 2 3

Further reading