King for a Day: An introduction to Stephen King's novellas - Stephen King Books

King for a Day: An introduction to Stephen King’s novellas

September 21, 2021


With the majority published for the first time by Hodder & Stoughton as standalone books, we turned to Stephen King’s UK editor Philippa Pride for a short introduction to each story. From iconic rite of passage tales to unforgettable terror, there is something for everyone here!



Did you know that S K wrote the story which was adapted into The Shawshank Redemption, the top-rated movie of all time?  This is a chance to read the original novella, the heart-wrenching and hopeful tale of Andy Dufresne’s unjust imprisonment, his unique friendship with Red, the prisoner who can get hold of just about anything, and his amazing escape.


Four friends from the small town of Castle Rock set off along the railway tracks to find the body of a missing kid – it’s a chance to get famous. This unforgettable coming-of-age story by the master chronicler of small-town adolescence and universal experience, filmed as Stand By Me, was even an inspiration for Stranger Things.



What is your childhood fear?  Flying?  Creatures with strange teeth which literally eat up time?   Imagine waking up on a plane to discover most of the passengers have gone missing and you have flown through a time slip?.  This spine-tingling novella is wonderfully ‘harrowing…a great idea, with the execution both grounded and terrifying’ (Guardian)



‘I think we have a birthday party to attend in the little town of Castle Rock’, writes Stephen King in his introduction to his story, which was inspired by his fascination for his wife’s Polaroid camera.  Kevin Delevan may get his dream Polaroid Sun 660 for his 15th birthday but the photographs that come out are the stuff of nightmares.


‘TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  My name is Wilfred Leland James, and this is my confession.  In June 1922 I murdered my wife’.  King’s range is phenomenal – and this story, ‘dripping with American Gothic’ (Independent) is ‘compulsive reading, sometimes scary, revolting, ultimately heartbreaking’ Neil Gaiman, Guardian.  Beware of the rats!



Todd Bowden is a golden California schoolboy – good grades and a supportive family.  He likes to study – especially old true war magazines.  That’s how he discovers that an old man on his paper route has a dark and deadly hideous past.  He doesn’t want to turn him in – he wants to learn about it.


The morning that follows a freak summer storm is bright and clear as a bell.  So Artist David Drayton and his son Billy join dozens of others to replenish their supplies in the local grocery store.  But the mist is coming – with lazy, hypnotising speed.  And there is something terrifying in the mist. ‘ [King’s] genius remains the conjuring of evil out of ephemera, of a malevolent universe lurking behind the Walmart shopping trolley banality of everyday small-town America’ The Times


Which will you read first on King for a Day?!