Meet the Author

Gary Paulsen

Portrait of Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen was born in 1939 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He ran away from home at age fourteen to travel with a carnival. He began writing for a living many years (and jobs) later, and he published numerous articles and books for adults before writing his first book for young people. Now he writes books that he'd want to read if he were a kid. Of all the books he has written, Hatchet is one of his favorites. He says, "It struck some nerve that I still don't understand."

Paulsen researches his books very carefully and thoroughly; he calls this research "personal inspection at zero altitude." Whenever possible, he tries to experience firsthand the challenges his characters face, so that he can make his writing vivid and real.

When he was young, Paulsen was not a good reader. He even flunked ninth grade. One cold night he went into the local public library just to get warm. When the librarian asked if he would like a library card, Paulsen says, "the most astonishing thing happened. This silly little card with my name on it gave me an identity I had not had. I felt I had become somebody." Over the next two years, the librarian gave Paulsen many kinds of books to read. He's been hooked on reading ever since.

Gary Paulsen
You can learn more about Gary Paulsen at his Web site.

Photography Credit


Other Books Written by Gary Paulsen

  • Dancing Carl
  • Tracker
  • Dogsong
  • The Crossing
  • The Island
  • The Voyage of the Frog
  • The Winter Room
  • The River
  • Woodsong
    (illustrated by Ruth Wright Paulsen)
  • Brian's Return
  • Brian's Return
  • My Life in Dog Years
    (illustrated by Ruth Wright Paulsen)