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Acclaimed author Gary Paulsen has died at the age of 82

13/02/2021 7:20 AM
Acclaimed author Gary Paulsen has died at the age of 82

Gary Paulsen, author of the young adult wilderness novel, Hatchet, died on October 13 in New Mexico at the age of 82.

His cause of death has not been disclosed but has been referred to as ‘sudden’.

He was born May 17, 1939, in Minneapolis and over the course of his career, he wrote over 200 books and around 200 articles and short stories. He’s known for his survivalist themed works that are typically about young boys battling the wilderness.

His best-known work is the 1986 novel Hatchet that follows the story of a teenage boy as he attempts to survive in the woods on his own with only a hatchet.

Other notable works include, his 1985 book Dogsong and his 1989 book The Winter Room.

His works are inspired by his own turbulent upbringing which he shared in his memoir Gone to the Woods. Due to his parent’s alcoholism, he often took refuge from them in the woods, where he learnt to hunt and trap animals to survive, and he eventually found solace in the local library.

According to NPR his love of reading was awakened when at age 13, he entered a library to avoid the low temperatures outside. Paulsen said, “To my absolute astonishment the librarian walked up to me and asked if I wanted a library card.... When she handed me the card, she handed me the world. I can’t even describe how liberating it was. She recommended westerns and science fiction, but every now and then would slip in a classic. I roared through everything she gave me, and in the summer read a book a day.”

His final novel, Northwind, will be published in January 2022. View his full obituary here.