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Booksellers honour 'heavy metal' King of writing

Bestselling author Stephen King described his work as the "heavy metal" of writing when presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Canadian Booksellers Association.

Bestselling author Stephen King described his work as the "heavy metal" of writingwhenpresented with a lifetime achievement award by the Canadian Booksellers Association.

King, author of horror tales such as The Stand, Carrie and It, is the first non-Canadian author to win the award, first handed out in 2000 to Timothy Findley.

Making his first public appearance in Canada, King spoke about his writing career before a packed Toronto audience Friday night.

"From the beginning, I saw writing as a fundamentally aggressive act,"said King, known for his graphic descriptions of violence, as well as intriguing plot twists.

He called his booksthe literary equivalent of a heavy-metal record.

"I want you to be actively engaged. I don't care if you laugh, scream, cry, throw up, whatever — but I like to get a reaction."

King was participating in Booked, a three-day festival that presents 50 homegrown and international authors at events across Toronto.

Now 59, King admitted his break-neck pace of writinghas slowed recently.

"There was a time, when I was working on The Stand, when I really was a lot faster because none of the gears seemed to stick together," he said in an onstage discussion with pop-culture author Chuck Klosterman.

"That's a young guy thing — and besides, my priorities changed."

King spoke of his own literary tastes,as well as his struggles with addiction.

Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, who also spoke, said she was grateful for King's contribution to world literacy.

"It is due to you that so many men now fully grown will never spell scream with two e's," Atwood said, drawing a laugh from the audience.

British fantasy-horror writer Clive Barker lauded King as a mentor and a man who had secured Barker's own literary success.

In 1985, when Barker's Books of Blood, a collection of short stories, were first published in the U.S., King hailed him with the statement: "I have seen the future of horror and its name is Clive Barker."

"Suddenly, there was interest in my work," said Barker, author of Weaveworld and The Great and Secret Show. "A few words from Stephen and lives are changed forever — mine was."

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