S. E. Hinton

S. E. Hinton
Born Susan Eloise Hinton
(1948-07-22) July 22, 1948 (age 73)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1967–present
Genre Young-adult novels, children's books, screenplays[1][2]
Notable awards Margaret 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] and still sells more than 500,000 a year.[3]

Hinton's publisher suggested she use her initials instead of her feminine given names so that the very 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 stated that she is a private person and an introvert who no longer does public appearances.[12] However, she has revealed that she enjoys reading (Jane Austen, Mary Renault, and F. Scott Fitzgerald[7]), taking classes at the local university, and horseback riding. Hinton also stated in an interview with Vulture.com that she enjoys writing fan fiction.[13]

She resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband David Inhofe, a software engineer,[8] after meeting him in her freshman biology class at college.[8]


Film adaptations of The Outsiders (March 1983) and Rumble Fish (October 1983) were both directed by Francis Ford Coppola; Hinton co-wrote 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 prostitute propositioning Rusty James in Rumble Fish. In 2009, Hinton portrayed the school principal in The Legend of Billy Fail.[14]

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,[15] 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.[16]


Young adult novels

The five YA novels, her first books published, are Hinton's works most widely held in WorldCat libraries.[17] All are set in Oklahoma.

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[17]