“When I was young, it never occurred to me that I might be a writer. I think I must have thought that books were born on the library shelves,” recalls preeminent writer Anne Fine. So how did she end up as one of the best-loved and best-known children’s authors of our time? Amazingly, Anne Fine claims to owe her beginning to bad weather. “One January there was such a blizzard I couldn’t get to the library and so sat down and began a book of my own.”
This kind of gentle humor has become a trademark of Anne Fine’s work. “I still adore funny books,” she says. “And since I write for the reader inside myself, I always end up with the kind of book I would have loved to read if only someone else had bothered to write it for me.” It seems that many other readers have the same taste in literature as Anne Fine. One of her most recent titles, The Jamie and Angus Stories, wryly recounts the adventures of a boy and his toy Highland bull. The collection won enthusiastic reviews and has already become a staple for bedtime rituals and classroom read-alouds. Says Publishers Weekly, “The breezy, often humorous repartée . . . plus the authentic interplay of boy and toy keep the narrative moving at a sprightly clip.”
Although many readers find themselves giggling aloud as they read Anne Fine’s writing, her books can be deceptively weighty. “A lot of my work, even for fairly young readers, raises quite serious social issues,” she admits. “Growing up is a long and confusing business. I try to show that the battle through the chaos is worthwhile and can, at times, be seen as very funny.” In 1994, audiences around the world had the opportunity to experience this unique combination of humor and realism in the hit movie Mrs. Doubtfire, inspired by Anne Fine’s Madame Doubtfire and starring comedic genius Robin Williams.
Anne Fine lives in England with her two daughters and a “huge hairy dog.” She is the author of more than fifty books for children and adults, and her work has been translated into twenty-five different languages. Twice chosen as Children’s Author of the Year in the British Book Awards, Anne Fine was named British Children’s Laureate for 2002.