S. E. Hinton

American Writer

The celebrated author, S. E. Hinton wrote her famous book ‘The Outsiders’ when she was still a teenager in high school. That made the book strongly appeal to adolescents because they can see themselves in it. Hinton’s books shaped the young adult genre and how teenagers are perceived in the literary world.

Life Facts

  • S. E. Hinton was born on July 22, 1948, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.
  • She is an American writer.
  • Her novel, ‘1984’ was written in 1948.
  • She is credited with introducing the Young adult genre
  • Hinton lives in Tusla, Oklahoma, with her husband and son, Nicholas David.

Interesting Facts

  • Hinton named ‘The Lost City of Z’ as one of her recent favourite books
  • Her full name is Susan Eloise Hinton.
  • She is best known for her young adult books.
  • Her genre is mainly young-adult novels, children’s books, and screenplays.
  • A notable award she got was the Margaret Edwards Award in 1988.
  • She wrote during high school in 1967.
  • She met her husband, David Inhofe, a software engineer, in her freshman biology class at college.

Famous Books by S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders. ‘The Outsiders is a story of class conflicts and rivalry between two teenage groups in rural Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1960s. The story of ‘The Outsiders follows the protagonist, Ponyboy, as he gets jumped by Socs, the opposing gang, gets rescued by his family and friend then runs away from home after his guardian berates him from coming back late. Later, his friend and fellow greaser Johnny defends him and kills a soc boy, and the whole thing goes out of control.

That Was Then, This Is Now. She published this novel in 1971. It tells the story of Byron and Mark, who are like brothers, but when they get to 16, things begin to change. Byron loves girls, but Mark’s only interest is in making money, yet they still enjoy hustling pool games in Charlie’s Bar. Byron and Mark, and Bryon start drifting apart when Charlie is killed. Byron has to make a great life decision when Cathy, his girlfriend’s drug-addicted brother, goes missing.

Rumble Fish. S. E. Hinton wrote ‘Rumble Fish’ in 1975. It tells the story of Rusty-James wanting to be just like his big brother, the Motorcycle Boy. He wants to be the toughest street fighter on their side of the city, to keep his cool when things get dangerous, and to laugh when gang members challenge him to fight. Rusty-James isn’t intelligent, so he depends on his fists more often than his brains. As always, the Motorcycle Boy bails him out when his fists have gotten him into trouble. But one night, when Rusty-James ventures out of his neighbourhood turf, his world is shattered by an explosive chain of events.

Tex. ‘Tex’ by S. E. Hinton is a story of a 15-year-old boy who is pretty daring and a bit foolish, and it was published in 1979. In the book, Tex was angry at his brother for selling his horse to pay the bills, in love with the cutest girl in school, and wondering if his father cares about him. This gets him into a lot of trouble at school and also helps him grow and put things in perspective. After scaring everyone to death and landing in a hospital, he and we are a little closer to some answers.

Taming the Star Runner. The classic story of a boy, a horse, and the pursuit of a dream, ‘Taming the Star Runner’ was written by celebrated novelist S. E. Hinton. Travis acts tough to hide his writing passion due to a domineering stepfather and an absent mother.  Travis is sent off to live on his uncle’s horse ranch after a violent confrontation with his stepfather. Being a born-and-bred city kid, he sees it as an exile. Travis befriends Casey to calm his yearning for connection. Casey is the horse-riding instructor at the ranch and has an untamable horse in her stable called the Star Runner. Travis also befriends the horse and becomes determined to escape the life of juvenile delinquency, especially after he heard stories of jail time. He was excited about an offer of a book deal and was hopeful that this is his chance to escape if only his stepfather will stop standing in the way of his dreams.

Early Life

Susan. E. Hinton grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the city in which The Outsiders is set. Writing the book at the age of 15 helped her to handle her encounter while growing up and also find refuge from her troubled home life. She wrote two books during Hinton’s teenage years that were unpublished before she wrote ‘The Outsiders’ which was published when she was 19 years old. The story in ‘The Outsiders’ was based on the social problems she experienced at her Tulsa high school.

She lived in a borderline neighbourhood, mixing with both greasers and Socs. She wrote several other young adult books after ‘The Outsiders’ and has recently published children’s and adult fiction well.

She was awarded the inaugural Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1988 by the American Library Association. This association honours the work of authors whose books have proven to speak for, work for, and contribute to teenagers. She was also awarded the 1998 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Oklahoma Center for the book. She lives in Tulsa with her husband. ‘The Outsiders,’ together with ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ helped to create today’s young adult book market.

Literary Career

As a teenager, Hinton became a household name as the author of ‘The Outsiders,’ her first and most popular novel, set in Oklahoma in the 1960s. She began writing it in 1965 when she was still 15. The book was inspired by two opposing gangs at her school, Will Rogers High School, the Greasers and the Socs. It was her desire to empathize with the Greasers that motivated her to write from their point of view. She wrote the novel when she was 15, and it was published in 1967 when she was 17. The book has since sold more than 15 million copies and still sells about 500,000 copies a year.
It’s not clear who motivated Hinton to use her initials as the author’s name. One report said that it was her publisher that suggested she use her initials instead of her feminine given names so that the very first male book reviewers would not dismiss her work since she is a female. Another school of thought said she had to use those initials to reflect her male protagonists in her book, as she mostly writes from a boy’s point of view. Still, another report said she decided to use her initials S.E. instead of her name Susan Eloise because she believed most boys would look at the book and think, ‘What can a girl know about stuff like that?’
S. E. Hinton was born and raised in Oklahoma and went to college at the University of Tulsa, with education as her major. After the favourable outcome of ‘The Outsiders’, Hinton continued writing and publishing using her initials because she did not want to lose what she had made famous and has allowed her to separate her public and private lives. From her first book, ‘The Outsiders,’ she became known as the Voice of the Youth.
To beat writer’s block of three years because of the constant pressure from her first book, her husband, then her boyfriend, urged her to write two pages a day to bring her out of it. She heeded the advice, and it eventually led to her second book, ‘That was Then, This is Now.’ The book was finished in 1970 and published in 1971, and it dealt with the problems of teenage boys. She released her third book, ‘Rumble Fish’, in 1975. It was her shortest novel yet, and it got very mixed reviews. 4 years later, Hinton published ‘Tex’, which got great reviews, and critics talked about how much her books have become more mature over the years. It, too, deals with two teenage boys who were abandoned by their father.
Four years later, her first son Nick was born, and the same year the movie ‘The Outsiders’ was released. Two months after that, the movie ‘Rumble Fish’ was released. In 1985 the movie ‘That Was Then, This Is Now’ was released.

Awards and Honors

Hinton was the pioneer awardee of the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American young adult librarians in 1988. The association alluded to her first four Young Adult novels, which had been published from 1967 to 1979 and adapted as films from 1982 to 1985. The annual award recognizes an author of books published in the U.S. and specified works taken to heart by young adults over a period of years, giving the youth an original voice that continues to showcase their life experiences and emotions and also giving insight into their lives.

Hinton won the first biennial “Young Adult Services Division/School Library Journal Author Achievement Award”. It was a biennial award before it was renamed and made annual after 1990. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa by the University of Tulsa in 1992. She was also inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame in 1998 at the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers of Oklahoma State University, Tulsa.


Her novels changed the outlook of people on young adult literary works. With more than ten books on young adults, Hinton has no doubt revolutionized the world of young readers. ‘The Outsiders’, her first novel, was published in 1967 by Viking, and it gave her a lot of publicity and fame, and also a lot of pressure. S. E. Hinton became known as “The Voice of the Youth” because of her youth-themed books.

Literature by S. E. Hinton

Explore literature by S. E. Hinton below, created by the team at Book Analysis.