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KNOXVILLE — Award-winning, adventure-loving author Gary Paulsen will visit the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on March 2 to discuss his life and his newest book, “Wood’s Runner.”

Sponsored by UT’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and the Knox County Public Library with support from Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the event begins at 7 p.m. in the University Center Auditorium, 1502 Cumberland Ave. It is free and open to the public. Paulsen will be available to sign books after the talk.

Paulsen is a three-time recipient of the John Newbery Medal, a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The award is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Born in 1939, Paulsen is one of America’s most popular writers for young people. With more than 200 books and as many articles and short stories to his name, his own experiences form the basis for many of his stories. He got the bug for adventure at an early age. At 14, Paulsen ran away from home to join a traveling carnival. He has dabbled in farm and ranch life, worked as an engineer and a construction worker, and has crossed the country as a truck driver. While sailing around the world and racing the sled dogs across Alaska, he also manages to write award-winning children’s books. Three of his novels — “Hatchet,” “Dogsong” and “The Winter Room” — were Newbery Honor Books. His books frequently appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association and, in 1997, Paulsen was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement.

“We are extremely delighted to bring Gary Paulsen to Knoxville,” said Miranda Clark, director of the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences.

“Paulsen is a rock star in the world of literature for young people. While his appeal is broad, he reaches boys and young men at a point when they are at risk of disregarding reading for fun. He manages to capture their attention and hold it. Paulsen’s books should be top of the list particularly for boys. We are thrilled to be able to work with Knox County Public Library and their Friends group to make this event happen. It’s exciting for our community,” Clark said.

“Wood’s Runner” is about Samuel, a 13-year-old who spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America, far from any town or news of the war against the king that American patriots have begun near Boston. But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away as prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for the patriot cause. And he learns that he must go deep into enemy territory to find his parents: all the way to the British headquarters, New York City.

The Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, housed in the School of Information Sciences in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee celebrates and promotes literature for youth. It encourages reading through outreach to children and their parents, to current and future teachers and librarians, to members of the community, and to scholars and thinkers across disciplines.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,