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Tulsan honored for writing
Scott Cooper, Staff Writer
Tulsa World
October 25, 1998

True to her form and personality, Tulsa author S.E. Hinton humbled herself to her audience of fans and friends on her induction into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.

"I wish I could deserve all this stuff people are saying about me," Hinton told the audience, gathered Saturday night at the Philbrook Museum of Art. "I'm just a storyteller."

Hinton, the award- winning author of such novels as "The Outsiders," "Rumble Fish" and "Tex," earned critical acclaim for her sharp insights into the lives of troubled teen-agers. Her fiction continues to be a favorite staple on teen reading lists.

On her dedicated night, several friends and colleagues spoke and reminisced about the famed Hinton, even presenting a video of film adaptations of her books. The video included cameo appearances Hinton made in each film.

The wide appeal of Hinton's writing manifest with all four of her novels adapted into major Hollywood feature films.

Hinton first gained fame as a teen-ager in the late 1960s when "The Outsiders" was published. The novel started a new genre of adolescent books.

So the book would appeal to both sexes, Hinton used her initials rather than her full name, Susan Eloise.

Over the next 20 years, Hinton would write more novels of issues involving teens. Last year was the 30th anniversary of "The Outsiders," second on the all-time list of bestselling children's books after "Charlotte's Web." More than 8 million copies have sold with schools across the country requiring the novel for reading.

The media-shy Hinton talked about her fame as a writer with the wit and humor friends had spoken about during the night.

"When I get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant I don't get recognized. But if I go into (a store) with unwashed hair, a group will form."

Hinton had been on a hiatus from writing until a couple of years ago with the release of two children's books — "Big David, Little David" and "The Puppy Sister." The two books are light- hearted and sweet compared to the rough-and-tumble depictions of her earlier works.

The Rogers High School and 1969 University of Tulsa graduate describes herself as an introvert. While writing "The Outsiders" during her days at Rogers, it was anger over how her classmates raged into attacks so easily.

Hinton told the audience that good storytelling may not tell it right but tells it best.

"Romeo and Juliet was told 100 times before Shakespeare got it right."

It was in 1983 that famous movie director Francis Ford Coppola obtained the movie rights to the "The Outsiders" and asked Hinton to co-write the screenplay.

Hinton has never left Tulsa and resides with her husband, David Inhofe, and son Nick.

She said it's nice to have a hall of fame for people who like to stare out a window. "If you put me in the hall of fame because of my storytelling, then you might as well put me in for breathing because I can't help it."

The Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame started in 1991 and with the addition of Hinton has inducted 25 state writers.

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P H O T O   G A L L E R Y
Click to enlarge!
S.E. Hinton at her induction to the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame in October 1998.

M O R E . . .
:: The Outsiders Web Page
Visit one reader's fan page dedicated to Hinton's novel and the film adaptation.
:: S.E. Hinton at Random House
Check out Random House's interview with Hinton.
:: S.E. Hinton Bibliography
Find additional reading from Hinton at the Author's Corner.

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