Name at birth: Susan Eloise Hinton
S.E. Hinton was just 17 years old when she sold her first novel, The Outsiders, a modern classic of teen literature which has been alternately praised and condemned since it was first published in 1967. The story of the struggle between two groups of teens -- Greasers and Socs (pronounced "soashes") -- the novel gained popularity among readers and educators in the 1970s for its frank depiction of violence and cruelty in the social structure of American high schools. Some groups found it too frank, however, and into the 1990s the book was still considered controversial enough to make the American Library Association's list of "most frequently challenged books." Hinton is also the author of That Was Then, This Is Now (1971), Rumble Fish (1975), Tex (1979) and Hawkes Harbor (2004), as well as books for younger readers, including Big David, Little David (1985) and The Puppy Sister (1995).
Hinton’s early novels have been made into popular films, and The Outsiders (1983) and Rumble Fish (1983) were both directed by Francis Ford Coppola… She is especially cagey about her age, and some sources list her birth year as 1950 (or 1949). About The Outsiders she has said in interviews, “I was actually fifteen when I first began it. It was the year I was sixteen and a junior in high school that I did the majority of work.” She graduated from Tulsa’s Will Rogers High School in 1966, which would mean she turned 18 in the summer of 1966 (the book came out in the spring of 1967, while Hinton was a freshman at the University of Tulsa).