Susan Eloise Hinton (born July 22, 1948) is an American writer best known for her young-adult novels (YA) set in Oklahoma, especially The Outsiders (1967), which she wrote during high school. Hinton is credited with introducing the YA genre.
In 1988 she received the inaugural Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her cumulative contribution in writing for teens.
While still in her teens, 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. The book was inspired by two rival gangs at her school, Will Rogers High School, the Greasers and the Socs, and her desire to empathize with the Greasers by writing from their point of view. She wrote the novel when she was 16 and it was published in 1967. Since then, the book has sold more than 14 million copies and still sells more than 500,000 a year.
Hinton's publisher suggested she use her initials instead of her feminine given names so that the very first male book reviewers would not dismiss the novel because its author was female. After the success of The Outsiders, Hinton chose to continue writing and publishing using her initials because she did not want to lose what she had made famous and to allow her to keep her private and public lives separate.
Hinton received the inaugural 1988 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American YA librarians, citing her first four YA novels, which had been published from 1967 to 1979 and adapted as films from 1982 to 1985. The annual award recognizes one author of books published in the U.S., and specified works "taken to heart by young adults over a period of years, providing an 'authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives'." The librarians noted that in reading Hinton's novels "a young adult may explore the need for independence and simultaneously the need for loyalty and belonging, the need to care for others, and the need to be cared for by them."
In 1992 she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa by the University of Tulsa, and in 1998 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers of Oklahoma State University–Tulsa