Fitchburg State alumnus Robert Cormier, who wrote many notable works of YA fiction including The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese, developed a large following of both young and adult readers during his career as an author. Cormier’s audience identified with the true-to-life scenarios in his work, and wrote thoughtful analyses of his novels for book reports, class essays and even graduate theses, with many students going as far as to submit a copy to Cormier himself for review and comment. Cormier admired the willingness of his audience to work with thematic elements in his books, stating “the letters that I receive and answer are an important part of my writing”, and his respect for readers is evident in his responses to the student papers he received. Cormier would point out what he saw as the highlights of a student’s work and encourage them to continue pursuing their own interpretations and insights.
In many of his responses, he made sure to mention that the student’s work was going to be included in his collection at the Fitchburg State University Archive, and the essays that Cormier received, along with his responses, are a now a permanent part of the Archives & Special Collections at the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library. Cormier was committed to demonstrating to young people that their ideas are a meaningful part of an ongoing exchange between writers, readers, students, scholars, and anyone who is willing to join the conversation. The Library is proud to be a part of his inspiring legacy.
To view more of Cormier’s correspondence, make an appointment with our Special Collections Librarian, Asher Jackson!