Episode 33: Gary Paulsen

AWM Author Talks
AWM Author Talks
Episode 33: Gary Paulsen

This week, iconic young adult author Gary Paulsen discusses his new middle grade memoir Gone to the Woods, his own survival story. He is joined by children’s book author and librarian Betsy Bird. This program took place January 12th, 2021 and was recorded live via Zoom.

We hope you enjoy entering the mind of a writer.


“I’m just gonna write until I die. Probably about Thursday at 4 o’clock! I’m hoping for a little longer than that, but we’ll see. But yeah, I’m gonna write more.”

“I would remember things that were just horrific, things that I would not want to see now even as an adult. But I was astonished that I got through them. I really was.”

“I think the original story was somebody around the fire showing what the hunt was like. They told the story of that. Later that became words. Later it became writing. Later it became art. But the story is the same. The story is sacrosanct.”

“The reason [my memoir] is third person…I thought by getting detached a little bit I could have more clarity. And it worked.”

“The library became a sanctuary…I’d go in there to get warm and get away from the bullies. But one day the librarian gave me a book, and then another book, and then a book a week, then two books a week. And then she’d throw in a Dickens, or a Melville. I would be in prison or dead without that librarian.”

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