William Paul Young thought the way he grew up was 'normal' but he thinks most would probably agree that his history and journey have been a bit unusual. He was the eldest of four, born May 11th, 1955, in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, but the majority of his first decade was lived with his missionary parents in the highlands of Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua), among the Dani, a technologically stone age tribal people. These became his family and as the first white child and outsider who never spoke their language, he was granted unusual access into their culture and community. Although at times a fierce warring people, steeped in the worship of spirits and even practicing ritualistic cannibalism, they also provided a deep sense of identity that remains an indelible element of his character and person.
By the time William flew away to boarding school at age 6, he was in most respects a white Dani. In the middle of a school year, his family unexpectedly returned to the West. His father worked as a Pastor for a number of small churches in Western Canada and by the time he graduated, he had already attended thirteen different schools. He paid his way through Bible College working as a radio disc jockey, lifeguard and even a stint in the oil fields of northern Alberta. William spent one summer in the Philippines and another touring with a drama troupe before working in Washington D.C. at Fellowship House, an international guest house. Completing his undergraduate degree in Religion, he graduated summa cum laude from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon.
William Paul Young has always been a writer, whether songs, poetry, short stories or newsletters; never for public consumption but for friends and family. While he has extensively written for business, creating web content, business plans, white papers etc.
The Shack was a story written for his six children, with no thought or intention to publish. It is as much a surprise to him as to anyone else that he was an 'author'.