The beloved author of such quintessential young adult novels as The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese began writing at age 12 and never looked back. His first published work was a short story he wrote in college, which was submitted to a magazine by his teacher without his knowledge. Cormier then went on to work as a newspaper reporter and columnist for 30 years. He has won many prizes, both for his journalistic work and for his young adult novels. Perhaps the award that makes him most proud is the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award, presented by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association in recognition of authors who provide young adults with a window through which they can view the world, and which help them to grow and understand themselves and their role in society. Cormier was born and raised in Leominster, Massachusetts, where he still lives. He and his wife, Connie, have four grown children. An avid traveler, Cormier has visited nearly every state in the U.S. In his spare time, he reads, something he recommends all aspiring writers should spend considerable time doing. Among the authors he considers inspirational are Graham Greene, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, William Saroyan, Brian Moore, and John O'Hara. Cormier also enjoys watching movies on his VCR, listening to music — everything from Dixieland jazz to ABBA to the Rolling Stones to Bing Crosby — and walking for exercise.