Robert Cormier was born on Jan. 17, 1925 in Leominster, Massachusetts, and he lived there his entire life. He said that he always wanted to be a writer, and a seventh-grade teacher at his parochial school gave him his first real encouragement. He attended nearby Fitchburg State College where, as a freshman, he made his first professional sale, to a national Catholic magazine, for $75.
Before becoming a full-time fiction author, he worked at a Worcester, MA radio station from 1946 to 1948, writing radio scripts and commercials. Then followed a 30-year newspaper career as a columnist, reporter, and editor at the Worcester Telegraph and Gazette and the Fitchburg Sentinel. During that time, he began to publish novels. His best-known and most influential book was the young adult novel, The Chocolate War, published in 1974. It changed the direction of adolescent literature, with its realism, gritty language, and uncompromising look at the ordinariness of evil. The book is among the most controversial and banned young adult novels of our time, and among the most widely read, having been translated into a dozen languages.
In 1991, Mr. Cormier received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association, recognizing that The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese, and After the First Death had become classics of young adult literature.
He passed away in the year 2000.