Sunday 3 May 2020

GARY PAULSEN - May's Author by Sharon Tregenza


Gary James Paulsen was born on May 17th 1939, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His parents Eunice and Oscar Paulsen were alcoholics and Paulsen grew up in poverty. He developed his love of reading at an early age.

At only 14 years old he ran away from home and worked as a a carnival hand for the summer. Three years in the army followed and he then worked at construction, as a truck driver and a ranch hand.

He eventually decided to try his hand at writing. Much of his adventurous life can be gleaned from his books. 

His first novel 'Some Birds Don't Fly' was published in 1967.

He is best known for his wilderness novels including : Hatchet, Winter Room and Dogsong.


1. He competed in the famous Iditarod (Alaskan sled dog race) twice. 

2. He's known to write for as many as twenty hours a day.

3. His wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, is an illustrator.

4. He graduated from high school with only a D grade average.

5. He's written more than 200 books, for both children and adults.

Paulsen and his wife now divide their time between their home in New Mexico and their boat in the Pacific.


Penny Dolan said...

What a great author to find here today! He sounds a remarkable survivor - and what an exciting life to have as inspiration for one's writing.

Sue Purkiss said...

Have just been reading about an American chap who taught for 17 years - all the while haiding the fact that he couldn't read or write. This somehow seems to fit in with that. You do find some interesting authors!

Sharon Tregenza said...

Hi Penny, it's been really interesting researching different authors. It's surprising how many were brought up in poverty and or difficult circumstances. It makes me admire them all the more.

Sharon Tregenza said...

Hi Sue, like I just said to Penny it's surprising how many grew up without a proper education, especially in the US. Some of them led extraordinary lives. I enjoy the research.