Gary Paulsen was born on May 17, 1939 in Minnesota. During the first few years of his life, his father was stationed in Europe during World War II and his mother worked in a factory. Paulsen was raised by his grandmother and aunts. He lived overseas after the war in the Phillippines between 1946-49. Ever since he was fifteen, he worked many jobs to support himself. He attended Bemidji College, in Minnesota, paying his tuition by being a trapper. He also spent some time in the army. He decided one day to try writing and tried to become a magazine editor. He spent nearly a year as an associate magazine editor on a magazine for men in Hollywood, California. He published his first book, Special War, in 1966 and had published nearly forty books and several articles and short stories during his early years. He went back to school in 1972, attending the University of Colorado, but his career was interrupted by a lawsuit in 1977 over Winterkill. In 1990, he suffered a mild heart attack, which did not hinder his writing at all. Some of Paulsens most well-known books are the Hatchet series, although he has published many other popular novels including Dogsong, Harris and Me, and The Winter Room, which won the Newbery Honor. Woodsong and Winterdance are among the most popular books about the Iditarod. Paulsen was the recipient of the 1997 Margaret A. Edwards Award for his lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.