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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Gary Paulsen: Videos, Conversations, and a Brand New Book

No trumpets blast when an author, one that has penned countless classics (and, just as an example, three Newbery honorees) has a new book out for the first time in five years. Sometimes the release sneaks up on you. The man behind Hatchet, and countless other stories, always kind of struck me as the Ernest Hemingway of children’s literature. Now, after all these years, he’s finally turned the pen fully on himself. He’s written Gone to the Woods, which is his own story about his own life. And it’s a rough life.

It occurs to me that maybe you’ve never hear Gary Paulsen’s voice before. I hadn’t until recently. Here then are two videos that you might find of interest then. In the first, Gary talks about the librarian that literally changed his life. In the other, the life that librarian changed.

Read this interview with PW about this book if you want to really dig deep into Gary Paulsen (I love the story about his publisher banking on the fact that he might die). And while you’re at it, check out the review of this book in The New York Times as written by Jarrett Krosoczka, a man who knows a thing or two about rough childhoods.

Want to see Gary in conversation? Then join him at the American Writers Museum tonight (January 12th) at 6 CST as he talks with me about this book. I’ve a lot to ask him, and you might find it interesting. You just might.

Many thanks to Morgan Rath and the folks at FSG for these videos.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Jim Randolph says

    In the mid-90s I was working at a B&N in Atlanta. I answered a call from a publisher rep that he was going to be stopping by for a drop-in, which meant basically just signing stock and bookplates. I set it all up. When he came in he was wearing his overalls and trucker cap just like you’d imagine. He was also clearly not enjoying his day with this rep. When he finished, I handed him a hardcover Brian book I’d set aside and asked him to sign it for my mom, a teacher who loved sharing his books with her special ed students. For the first time he just lit up and was happy to ask about her and her students and his books. It really is the joy of his life.

  2. I grew up in Minnesota and loved Gary Paulsen’s books, as did my sister. When my sister was in 2nd or 3rd grade, my dad read her all the Hatchet books that had come out to that point.

    When Brian’s Return was published she was in middle school and she brought the book home from the library. I remember my dad seeing it and asking if he could read it out loud to her and so they sat down and read it over the course of a week together. It’s one of my favorite memories of the two of them together.