Robert Cormier was born in 1925 in French Hill, a
French-Canadian neighborhood of Leominster, Massachusetts, and
has lived in Leominster all his life. The second of eight children,
Robert enjoyed a happy childhood in the nest of his close-knit family
and community. His family provided him a haven from the outer world.
Cormier didn't fare well in the streets of his neighborhood, where
ballplaying ability counted for more than his love of books. He
attended St. Celia's Parochial Grammar School, where some of the
nuns gave him a terrible time. When he was in eighth grade, he
watched in horror from his classroom window as his own house
caught fire and burned. His teacher refused to let him go to see if his
family was safe until he had said the requisite prayers. This incident
enraged him for years afterward.

One of the nuns, however, made a remark that changed the way he
thought of himself. His seventh-grade teacher read one of his poems
and told him that he was a writer. He believed her, and continued to
think of himself as one. Later, a teacher at Fitchburg State College
was so impressed with one of Cormier's stories that she submitted it
to a magazine; it became his first published work.

After college, Cormier went on to write commercials for a local radio
station, and soon switched to newspaper work. He was a writer and
editor at the Fitchburg Sentinel for 23 years, where he won three
major journalism awards. He later wrote short stories for popular
magazines such as McCall's and the Saturday Evening Post.
Cormier married in 1948, and despite his own childhood experiences,
he and his wife sent their four children to local parochial schools.

Cormier's first three books were moderately successful, but in 1974
The Chocolate War launched him into the young adult market where
he has had tremendous success. Cormier still lives in Leominster
and still writes for young people-and often directly to them, answering
the numerous letters his young readers have sent him over the years.