Joe Hill (writer)

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Joe Hill
Hill at San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2014
Born Joseph Hillstrom King
(1972-06-04) June 4, 1972 (age 46)
Bangor, Maine, United States
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, comic book writer
Nationality American
Alma mater Vassar College
Period 1996–present
Genre Horror, dark fantasy, science fiction
Spouse Leanora King (1999–2010; divorced)[1]
Children 3
Relatives Stephen King (father)
Tabitha King (mother)
Owen King (brother)

Joseph Hillstrom King (born June 4, 1972), better known by the pen name Joe Hill, is an American author and comic book writer. His work includes the novels Heart-Shaped Box (2007), Horns (2010), NOS4A2 (2013), and The Fireman (2016); the short story collections 20th Century Ghosts (2005) and Strange Weather (2017); and the comic book series Locke & Key (2008–2013). Locke & Key won British Fantasy Awards in 2009 and 2012, and an Eisner Award in 2012.

King is the son of authors Stephen and Tabitha King.

Early life[edit]

Hill was born in 1972 to authors Tabitha (née Spruce) and Stephen King. He was born in Hermon, Maine and grew up in Bangor, Maine. His younger brother, Owen King, is also a writer.

At age 9, Hill appeared in the 1982 film Creepshow, directed by George A. Romero, which co-starred and was written by his father.


Hill chose to use an abbreviated form of his given name (a reference to executed labor leader Joe Hill, for whom he was named) in 1997, out of a desire to succeed based solely on his own merits rather than as the son of Stephen King, one of the world's best-selling and most-recognized living novelists. After achieving a degree of independent success, Hill publicly confirmed his identity in 2007 after an article the previous year in Variety broke his cover[2] (although online speculation about Hill's family background had been appearing since 2005).[3]

Hill is a recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship. He has also received the William L. Crawford award for best new fantasy writer in 2006,[4] the A. E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize in 1999 for "Better Than Home"[5] and the 2006 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella for "Voluntary Committal". His stories have appeared in a variety of magazines, such as "Subterranean Magazine", "Postscripts" and "The High Plains Literary Review", and in many anthologies, including "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror" (ed. Stephen Jones) and "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" (ed. Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant).

Hill's first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts (published in 2005 by PS Publishing), showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for "Best New Horror". In October 2007, Hill's mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

Hill at a book store reading in March 2007

Hill's first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, was published by William Morrow/HarperCollins on February 13, 2007 and by Victor Gollancz Ltd in UK in March 2007. The novel reached number eight on the "New York Times" bestseller list on April 1, 2007.[6]

When he began writing, Hill was well aware of the inevitable comparisons that would arise between his own work and that of his father, Stephen King, with the name "King" being synonymous with horror fiction. Stephen King had himself used a pen-name, Richard Bachman, after he had become well-established, explaining later in the short essay, "Why I Was Bachman" that he felt he had to know whether he could "re-achieve" success as an author purely through the quality of his writing, as opposed to what perceived as the "brand" that had become established through his own name. Joseph King chose to take the same approach; although many readers (and most reviewers) are now aware of the connection, his fiction has been widely praised, and many critics have stressed their own objectivity and lack of preconceptions when reviewing his works.

On September 23, 2007, at the thirty-first Fantasycon, the British Fantasy Society awarded Hill the first ever Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award. Hill's first professional sale was in 1997.

Among unpublished works is one partly completed with his father, "But Only Darkness Loves Me", which is held with the Stephen King papers at the Special Collections Unit of the Raymond H Fogler Library at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.[7]

Hill is also the author of Locke & Key, a comic book series published by IDW Publishing. The first issue, released on February 20, 2008, sold out of its initial publication run in one day.[8] A collection of the series in limited form from Subterranean Press sold out within 24 hours of being announced.[9]

Hill's second novel, Horns, was published on February 16, 2010. A film based on the novel was released in 2014.

NOS4A2, his third novel, was published on April 30, 2013. The novel peaked at number five on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Hill's fourth novel called The Fireman was released on May 17, 2016.



Novels and collections[edit]


  • Locke & Key (2008–2013), illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Kodiak (2010), one-shot, co-written with Jason Ciaramella and illustrated by Nat Jones
  • The Cape (2010), one-shot, co-written with Jason Ciaramella and illustrated by Zach Howard
  • The Cape (2011), mini-series co-written with Jason Ciaramella and illustrated by Zach Howard
  • The Cape: 1969 (2012), mini-series co-written with Jason Ciaramella and illustrated by Nelson Daniel
  • Thumbprint (2013), co-written with Jason Ciaramella
  • Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland (2014), mini-series illustrated by C. P. Wilson III
  • Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury: "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain" (2014), one-shot, adapted by Jason Ciaramella, illustrated by C. P. Wilson III
  • Tales from the Darkside (2016), illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
  • The Cape: Fallen (2018), mini-series co-written with Jason Ciaramella and illustrated by Zach Howard

Short stories[edit]

Dates by original magazine or anthology publication.

  • "The Lady Rests" (1997), "Palace Corbie" 7
  • "The Collaborators" (1998), "Implosion" 8
  • "Better Than Home" (1999), A. E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize Series, stand-alone chapbook
  • "The Saved" (2001), "The Clackamas Literary Review" spring/summer issue
  • "Pop Art" (2001), "With Signs & Wonders", Invisible Cities Press anthology
  • "20th Century Ghost" (2002), "The High Plains Literary Review", journal's final issue
  • "The Widow's Breakfast" (2002), "The Clackamas Literary Review" spring/summer issue
  • "You Will Hear the Locust Sing" (2004), "The Third Alternative" 37
  • "Abraham's Boys" (2004), "The Many Faces of Van Helsing", anthology
  • "The Black Phone" (2004), "The Third Alternative" 39
  • "Dead-Wood" (2005), "Subterranean Press" February online newsletter
  • "Last Breath" (2005), "Subterranean Magazine" 2
  • "Best New Horror" (2005), "Postscripts" 3
  • "Voluntary Committal" (2005), "Subterranean Press" stand-alone chapbook
  • "In the Rundown" (2005), "Crimewave" 8
  • "Scheherazade's Typewriter" (2005), "20th Century Ghosts", within the book's acknowledgments section
  • "The Cape" (2005), "20th Century Ghosts", original to collection
  • "My Father's Mask" (2005), "20th Century Ghosts", original to collection
  • "Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead" (2005), "Postscripts" 5
  • "Thumbprint" (2007), "Postscripts" 10
  • "Jude Confronts Global Warming" (2007), "Subterranean Press" online magazine, spring issue
  • "Gunpowder" (2008), PS Publishing stand-alone novella
  • "Throttle" (2009, written in collaboration with Stephen King), "He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson" (also included in the audiobook "Road Rage")
  • "Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" (2010), "The New Dead", edited by Christopher Golden
  • "The Devil on the Staircase" (2010), "Stories: All-New Tales", edited by Al Sarrantonio and Neil Gaiman
  • "Wolverton Station" (2011), "Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2", edited by William Schafer
  • "In the Tall Grass" (2012, written in collaboration with Stephen King), "Esquire", June/July and August issues
  • "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain" (2012), "Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury", edited by Mort Castle and Sam Weller
  • "Snapshot, 1988" (2016)
  • "Snapshot" (2017), "Strange Weather" 1
  • "Loaded" (2017), "Strange Weather" 2
  • "Aloft" (2017), "Strange Weather" 3
  • "Rain" (2017), "Strange Weather" 4
  • "Dark Carousel" (2018), vinyl-first audiobook (to be included in the next short story collection.- Print TBA)
  • "You Are Released" (2018), Flight or Fright, edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent


  • "The Sundial Man" (2010) [16]

Anthology appearances[edit]

Below is a list of Hill's short fiction which has been reprinted.

  • "20th Century Ghost": "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume Fourteen" (2003), ed. Stephen Jones
  • "My Father's Mask": "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 19th Annual Collection" (2006), ed. Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant
  • "Best New Horror": "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume Seventeen" (2006), ed. Stephen Jones
  • "The Cape": "Horror: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition" (2006), ed. John Gregory Betancourt and Sean Wallace
  • "Thumbprint": "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume Nineteen" (2008), ed. Stephen Jones
  • "Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead": "The Living Dead" (2008), ed. John Joseph Adams
  • "20th Century Ghost": "Poe's Children: The New Horror" (2008), ed. Peter Straub
  • "Pop Art": "American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now" (2009), ed. Peter Straub
  • "Abraham’s Boys": "By Blood We Live" (2009), ed. John Joseph Adams
  • "20th Century Ghost": "The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror" (2010), ed. Stephen Jones
  • "My Father's Mask": " Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror " (2010), ed. Ellen Datlow
  • "Throttle" (with Stephen King): "The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume Twenty-One" (2010), ed. Stephen Jones
  • "You Are Released": Flight or Fright (2018), ed. Stephen King and Bev Vincent

Miscellaneous credits[edit]

  • "Pop Art" was reprinted in 2007 by Subterranean Press as a chapbook featuring illustrations by Gahan Wilson. As well, 52 lettered (A–ZZ) hard covers and 150 numbered soft covered chapbooks were signed by Hill.[17]
  • "Fanboyz", a comic script, was written for "Spider-Man Unlimited" 8 (2005). The story was illustrated by Seth Fisher.
  • "The Saved", first published in "The Clackamas Literary Review" in 2001 and also as part of the bonus material included in the 2005 deluxe slipcased edition of "20th Century Ghosts", was reprinted in December 2007 as part of PS Publishing's annual Holiday Chapbook series, available, free of charge, to subcribers of the quarterly magazine Postscripts.
  • "Thumbprint", first published in "Postscripts" #10 in 2007, was reprinted as a chapbook in summer 2008 to accompany the anthology "Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy" published by Subterranean Press.
  • Hill was selected to serve as the guest editor of the first (2015) volume of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's series "The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy".[18]
  • Tales from the Darkside: Script Book will be published in 2016 collecting three original scrips of the failed TV series reboot

Screenwriting credits[edit]

  • Fade Away (2005) (unproduced screenplay co-written with Owen King)
  • Tales From The Darkside (2015) (unproduced pilot episode)
  • Locke & Key (2018) (unproduced pilot episode)
  • Locke & Key (2019) (pilot episode co-written with Eli Coleite)


  • Pop Art (short film) (2008) directed by Amanda Boyle
  • Abraham's Boys (short film) (2009) directed by Dorothy Street
  • Horns (2014) directed by Alexandre Aja
  • NOS4A2 (2019)
  • Locke & Key (2019)
  • In the Tall Grass (2019)


  1. ^ {{cite news|last=Monroe|first=Justin|title=Interview: "NOS4R2" Author Joe Hill Talks the War on Christmas, Movie Adaptations, and Mark Twain's Twitter|url=}}
  2. ^ McClintock, Michael Fleming,Pamela (April 6, 2006). "WB keeping King kin in 'Box'". 
  3. ^ "Secret of Horror Writer's Lineage Broken", Associated Press March 17, 2007
  4. ^ Excerpts from interview in July 2006 "Locus"
  5. ^ "fiction". joe hill fiction. Archived from the original on January 12, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ NYT Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list (registration only)
  7. ^ Rocky Wood, et al.: "Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished", Abingdon, Maryland: Cemetery Dance Publications, 2006, p. 110
  8. ^ Fantasy-Horror Comic Locke & Key Sold Out in One Day (press release), Comics Bulletin, February 21, 2008
  9. ^ Limited and Lettered LOCKE & KEY by Joe Hill Sold Out Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., November 24, 2007
  10. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ Fire, Larry (July 23, 2011). "Joe Hill On NOS4A2, The Walking Dead & Future Projects | THE FIRE WIRE". Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ "A place to get news on Joe Hill's novels, short stories, comics, films, and other projects". Joe Hill Fiction. August 1, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  13. ^ "THE FIRE WIRE Exclusive: Interview With NOS4A2 Author, Joe Hill". 
  14. ^ "Exeter author Joe Hill earns Top 10 honor". 
  15. ^ "A Little Silver Book of Sharp Shiny Slivers by Joe Hill — Signed Limited Edition". 
  16. ^ "Joe Hill's Thrills". 
  17. ^ Hill, Joe. "Pop Art by Joe Hill — Subterranean Press". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Announces The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. February 21, 2014. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]