Popular young adult author shares a bit about himself
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“I was born on a Thursday, the 12th of August, 1937, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. My name at birth was Walter Milton Myers. For some strange reason I was given to a man named Herbert Dean who lived in Harlem. I consider it strange because I don’t know why I was given away.
I was raised in Harlem by Herbert and his wife, Florence. Herbert was African American. Florence was German and Native American and wonderful and loved me very much.
As a child my life centered around the neighborhood and the church. The neighborhood protected me and the church guided me. I resisted as much as I could.
I was smart (all kids are smart) but didn’t do that well in school. I dropped out of high school (although now Stuyvesant High claims me as a graduate) and joined the army on my 17th birthday.
Basketball has always been a passion of mine. Sometimes at night I lie in bed thinking about games I’ve played. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I had gone into the NBA (I was never good enough) or college ball.
Anyway…. I wrote well in high school and a teacher (bless her!) recognized this and also knew I was going to drop out. She advised me to keep on writing no matter what happened to me.
“It’s what you do,” she said.
I didn’t know exactly what that meant but, years later, working on a construction job in New York, I remembered her words. I began writing at night and eventually began writing about the most difficult period of my own life, the teen years. That’s what I do.”your site.
More about Walter Dean Myers
Myers grew up with a speech impediment that made it difficult for him to communicate with others. Frustrated and tired of being taunted, Myers often found himself in fights. At the age of nine, he began to express himself through writing poems and short stories. Myers later dropped out of high school and joined the army on his 17th birthday.
As a young adult, Myers worked odd jobs, but he never stopped writing. Whether he was loading trucks or working at the post office, he usually found time to write at night.
Myers, the father of four, lives with his wife in Jersey City, New Jersey. As an adult, he adopted Dean as his middle name — in honor of his loving foster parents.
Watch another video interview with Walter Dean Myers.