Biography of Gary Paulsen


Gary Paulsen is a famous writer of young adult fiction. To date, he has written over 175 books and 200 short stories and articles for young adults and children. He won the Newbery Honor Books award for three of his books, Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room.

Gary Paulsen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the 17th of May, 1939. When he was young, he was not a committed student in school, but he had a special passion for books. His love for reading started when he received a book and a library card from a librarian, and he spent many hours reading books in his apartment.

When he was 14 years old, Paulsen joined a carnival and took off from home. He started doing odd jobs as a farmer, construction worker, engineer, sailor, and truck driver, and he joined the Iditarod, an Alaskan dog sled race. The adventures of his wandering days gave him enough materials to create his wonderful stories. In 1959, Paulsen went to Bemidji College in Minnesota, and he worked as a trapper to pay his tuition fees. Two years later, he quit college and joined the Army, working for the missiles department.

Paulsen made the decision to become a writer when he was working at a Californian aerospace firm. He walked away from the job one night, and he never came back. After that, he moved to Hollywood and got a job as a proofreader for a magazine. He did his own writing after work. One day, he quit his job and went to Minnesota, where he did more writing. Soon, he finished his first novel, The Special War.

When he was living in Minnesota, Paulsen also developed a passion for dog racing. He took part in the Iditarod in 1983 and 1985. After the 1985 event, he found that he was suffering from angina, and he was compelled to give up dog racing. Right after that, he poured all his energies into writing, working up to 20 hours a day. His hard work resulted in a great number of books.

Most of Paulsen’s stories are based on outdoor adventures, and they emphasize on the importance of nature. It is common to find “coming of age” themes in his books, such as a character having to undergo a rite of passage to manhood. Paulsen’s most successful books that people search for are known as the Hatchet series, Winterdance and Woodsong and also his most well-known novels about the Iditarod.

Gary Paulsen’s bestsellers :

1) Lawn Boy (2007)

2) The River (1991)

3) Brian’s Winter (1996)

4) Brian’s Hunt (2003)

5) The Rifle (1995)

6) Soldier’s Heart (1998)

7) Tracker (1984)

8) The Crossing (1987)

9) Sentries (1986)

10) Brian’s Return (1999)

Presently, Paulsen lives with his wife, Ruth Paulsen, in La Luz, New Mexico.