Gary Paulsen, award-winning author of ‘Hatchet,’ dies at 82

Gary Paulsen, the author, is shown with some of his books. Photo is one of several for a feature on Paulsen in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune magazine July 10, 1988. Photos June 15, 1988, by staff photographer Joey McLeister.(Photo By JOEY MCLEISTER/

Three-time Newbery Honor-winning author Gary Paulsen has passed away at the age of 82.

Paulsen died on the morning of Oct. 13, according to his British publisher Pan McMillan. He is credited with more than 200 books in his decorated career. His most popular works include titles like "Hatchet," "The River," "Dogsong," "Woodsong," and more.

"All of us at Macmillan Children's Books are shocked to hear this sudden news of the death of Gary Paulsen," the company said in a statement. "We are proud to be his UK publisher for over thirty years and his classic Newbery Honor-winning novel Hatchet has in particular been widely loved, recommended and shared by children, families, teachers since it was first published in the UK in 1989. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Other publishers paid tribute to Paulsen upon news of his death.

Paulson was born in Minnesota on May 17, 1939. He developed a love for reading at a young age when a librarian gave him a book and library card. He isolated himself for hours at a time as he read through book after book.

Paulsen ran away from home at just 14 years old, developing a taste for adventure while traveling with a carnival. According to MacMillan, his nomadic life as a farmhand, engineer, construction worker, ranch hand, truck driver, sailor and two rounds of the Iditarod sled dog race provided him with the material he later used to create his stories.


Award-winning author Gary Paulsen passed away on Wednesday at the age of 82, his publisher confirmed. (Source: Pan McMillan)

Not surprisingly, Paulsen served as an advocate for reading and often encouraged people to dive deep into books. One of his more famous quotes about reading is as follows:

"The most, MOST important thing is to read. Read all the time; read when they tell you not to read, what they tell you not to read, read with a flashlight under the covers, read on the bus, standing on a corner, waiting for a friend, in the dentist’s waiting room. Read every minute you can. READ LIKE A WOLF EATS."

Paulsen’s final novel, "Northwind," will be published in the U.S. in January 2022 by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers. British readers will have access to the book in July 2022 through McMillan.

This story was reported from Atlanta.