New York City
The Hooded Man
“I went into the field [of writing young adult fiction] to try to reach the young with all the skill and thought I had learned in a lifetime of writing in many genres,” Jay Bennett said in Literature for Today's Young Adults. “I felt that the young were alive, questioning, and in the main were far more decent human beings than were their elders.”
“Readers suffer and triumph with Bennett's lonely heroes who pit themselves against organized crime, deadly racists, and— especially—sinister adults who seem harmless on the surface,” Anne Janette Johnson said.
Bennett's fictional victims “have real blood, not catchup, and the screams aren't caused by the rocking chair coming down on the cat's tail,” George A. Woods stated.
The son of a Jewish immigrant businessman, Bennett held a variety of jobs as an adult: on a farm, in a factory, and at a beach. He also was a mailman, a salesman, and an editor for an encyclopedia. During World War II, from 1942 to 1945, he wrote for the Office of War Information.
Besides writing fiction for young adults and adults, he has crafted two plays and several radio scripts, including Miracle Before Christmas and The Wind and Stars Are Witness. He has written television scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Crime Syndicated; Wide, Wide World; Cameo Theater; and Monodrama Theatre. Bennett, who looks to William Shakespeare as an influence, was the first to adapt Hamlet for television, winning an award from the Shakespeare Society for this.