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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

S. E. Hinton
(2012.201.B0262.0257, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).


Born July 22, 1948, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as Susan Eloise Hinton, S. E. Hinton, the dean of young-adult literature, published her phenomenally best-selling first novel, The Outsiders, while still a junior in high school in 1967. She said that she loved to read and had run out of stories in the library that appealed to her, so she just decided to write one. The novel paved a new direction in teen lit, with her realistic depiction of social class stratification and simmering adolescent disaffection, and has remained a steady seller for thirty-five years. Francis Ford Coppola directed the film version of this book in 1983 and, in the same year, a treatment of her 1975 work, Rumble Fish. Her novels Tex (1979) and That Was Then, This Is Now (1971) also became the basis of films in 1982 and 1985, respectively. Three of these movies were filmed in Tulsa, and Hinton had some hand in the production of them, even making a cameo appearance in Tex. Hinton received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tulsa but has made her living as a writer since that first early success. Although her career has centered on young-adult fiction, she also has written two children's books.

When asked why most of her books center around teen males, Hinton affirmed that it is easiest for her to write that way, and that boys won't read "girls'" books, but girls will read "boys'" books. In 1997 Hinton received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book, and in 1998 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Married to David Inhofe, Hinton continued to reside in Tulsa at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Patricia Yarbrough


"S. E. Hinton," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Dottie Witter, "S. E. Hinton," 2002 Speaker Series, Friends of the OSU Library (2002).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Patricia Yarbrough, “Hinton, Susan Eloise,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=HI013.

Published January 15, 2010
Last updated May 10, 2020

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