When he was twelve, Robert Cormier's teacher, a nun, read a poem by him and declared 'Robert, you're a writer.' Robert began his professional writing career scripting radio commercials. He went on to become a newspaper journalist for 31 years, winning three major journalism awards. Robert credits both journalism and writing commercials as helping him to achieve his characteristic economy of style. His first work of fiction - a novel for adults - was published in 1963, but it was with the groundbreaking The Chocolate War in 1974 that Robert became a full-time writer. A gentle, caring, family-orientated man, who still lives in the town where he was born, Robert is concerned about the problems facing young people in modern society. This concern is reflected in his novels, which are often brutal and always uncompromising in their depiction of the individual struggling in the face of power, corruption, victimization, betrayal and conspiracy. Tenderness, for example, depicts the relationship between a teenage runaway and a juvenile serial killer. In Heroes, a teenage war hero and victim returns to confront the idolized youth leader who betrayed him. One of Robert's favourite books is Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, so it must have been particularly gratifying for him to read in Newsweek that 'if any author in the field can challenge J.D. Salinger or William Golding it is Robert Cormier.'