|Before becoming a full-time writer, Taylor's careers included newspaper journalist, merchant marine, and press agent. His first novel, THE CAY, was published in 1969 and tells the story of a black West Indian sailor named Timothy and a white boy named Philip who are marooned on an island--the only survivors of a shipwreck. This work won many awards but also created controversy, as many considered the depiction of Timothy racist. Because of this controversy, Taylor was eventually asked to return the Jane Addams Children's Book Award that had been given to him for this work. Taylor asserts that THE CAY is not a racist book, that the character of Timothy, modeled after a real person, is indeed a hero and not a stereotype. A sequel/prequel to THE CAY, TIMOTHY OF THE CAY appeared in 1993.