Robert Cormier is the author of the classic young adult novels The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese, and After the First Death. In 1991, the Young Adult Services Division of the American Library Association presented him with the Margaret A. Edwards Award, citing the trio of books as “brilliantly crafted and troubling novels that have achieved the status of classics in young adult literature.” The award recognizes a particular body of work that provides young adults with a window through which they can view the world, and which will help them to grow and understand themselves and their role in society. Cormier’s books are frequently banned and challenged for language and themes. His novels are frequently taught and recommended by teachers and librarians. His stories have a moral focus and compel readers to examine their own lives and ethics.
Cormier began writing when he was in the first grade and was praised at school for his poetry. He first realized his aspiration to become a writer in seventh grade, when he was encouraged by a teacher to write a poem. Cormier began his professional writing career scripting radio commercials. He eventually became an award-winning journalist, writing for his local newspaper, The Fitchburg Sentinel.
An avid traveler, Cormier visited nearly every state in the U.S. In his spare time, he read, and he recommended that all aspiring writers spend considerable time reading. Among the authors he considered inspirational are Graham Greene, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, William Saroyan, Brian Moore, and John O’Hara.