Anne Fine

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Carnegie Medal

Children's Laureate 2001-2003

Carnegie Medal 1989, 1992

Whitbread Award 1993, 1996

Guardian Fiction Award 1990

ANNE FINE

This is the official web site of Anne Fine, the second Children's Laureate and a distinguished prize-winning writer for children of all ages, with over fifty books to her credit. She has also written for adults to considerable critical acclaim. This site has news and information about Anne, and showcases her books.

Where did the idea come from...?

He Says... She says ...

 For some time now," says Anne, "I've been writing a book that's taken a good deal of thought. So it's been lovely to break off and write one of the short, straightforward comedies designed for somewhat reluctant readers, or those who still find some books pitched at their age group a bit too complicated.

"Where did the idea come from? One of the things that amused me most, growing up, is how my best friend's grandparents both saw the world so very differently. Ask Imogen's Granny how her day had been, and you'd get something along the lines of, 'Oh, it's been wonderful. I had the most glorious walk with the dog. The trees were bursting with blossoms. I came home feeling a million dollars!'

"Ask her Grandpa, and out would come, 'Ghastly day! I don't believe it stopped raining from dawn till dusk. Positively biblical. Needed boots and a sou'wester just to get as far as the wood shed.'

"You can write that sort of mystery out a thousand ways.

"So I chose one, and, hey presto!, we get He Says... She says ...

Next to Alice

Next to Alice

The Book Trust has included Next to Alice in its 2023 Great Books Guide, saying: "Few authors capture classroom dynamics as well as Anne Fine, and children will recognise the subtle undercurrents. This story has gentle humour and the message of putting in effort to see the reward is lightly done."

In this funny new school story from award-winning author Anne Fine, a change in classroom seating arrangements challenges old habits and leads to a new friendship.

At first Ben doesn't want to sit next to Alice in the classroom.

She's scary and tells him off for his squiggly drawing and poor handwriting. She even points out his bad table manners.

But when Ben starts to take Alice's advice, he realises that she might have a point - and discovers that sitting next to her isn't so bad after all.

Read more about Next to Alice.

Aftershocks

Aftershocks

A family mix-up means Louie has to tag along with his engineer father and his team...

...as they head for a routine job in the farthest flung and most neglected province of the Federation.

A massive earthquake, with ensuing tsunami, devastates the entire isolated coastal region, laying bare the other\-worldly manner in which the silent and strange Endlanders deal with life, death, and the hinterlands of memory and loss. Their curious and unsettling ways raise ghosts for Louie, who has recently lost his own brother.

This modern fable - part ghost story, part coming of age novel, and part astute social and family observation - explores the ways in which grief can affect not only individuals, but communities at large.

Aftershocks was nominated for the Yoto Carnegie Award 2023. It was selected for the World Book Night 2023 Reading List.

More about Aftershocks

It could be Worse

The cover of 'It could be Worse'

Mum and Dad are off on a trip, so Jamie has to stay with Granny for the night.

But he's never stayed away by himself before. His imagination runs wild! What are those strange noises, and silver lights?.

Anne says: "I still remember my first ever night away from home. I was terrified. Maybe because I have so many sisters, I was't used to trying to sleep alone in a strange place - my grandparents' guest room. The house was too quiet. The room smelt strange. The sheets felt different. Odd shadows lurked. Worst of all, weird slinky silver lights kept snaking silently up one wall, running across the ceiling, and down the other wall. How was I to have guessed that it was car lights shining through the wide bay window?

"I'd guess that, for most children now, it's far more likely to be excitement than fear that keeps them from sleep. But Jamie's the anxious sort, and clings to the mantra he's casually been offered by his dad: 'It could be worse.'"

Could it be worse? How? Read more about It could be Worse to find out how Jamie gets on!

A novel for adults from Anne Fine

Tansy Devpy - a Case Study

There can't be a parent in the land who couldn't cheerfully reel off a litany of the various misdeeds committed by their offspring. But what if those transgressions aren't so small? What if they sometimes appear to shade into real wickedness?

Marcia is an experienced child psychologist. But she has never come across a child like Tansy Devoy. The parental response to her probing isn't helpful. And in the desperate attempt to understand the roots of Tansy's behaviour, Marcia is forced to begin to think about one or two disturbing aspects of her own childhood.

So, forced by the system to make her professional recommendation for Tansy's future, Marcia is deeply rattled. By now she knows exactly how bad things could get if she calls this one wrong.

Anne says:  Families have always been my stomping ground...

... but I don't tend to write much about those on the extremes. I suppose I usually find quite enough interest and tension in the day to day life of essentially well-functioning homes. I've tackled families in real crisis only twice in books for older children: in The Tulip Touch, and in Blood Family. But even then, the off-the-wall behaviour of both protagonists was quite understandable, given the pressures of their childhoods.

This is a different sort of story entirely, and there is a reason why it is a novel for adults, not young people. I think it's realistic. But I have put together what has become, in Tansy's family, a truly toxic mix of a child hair-triggered to get attention any way she can, and two parents determined to keep their heads well buried in the sand. In this book, then, I am more interested in parenting than in childhood.

I know where I stand on the matter. Read it, and see what you think.

All about Tansy Devoy - A Case Study.

Figures of Speech

Anne says  Sometimes it's only when I'm asked to write a keynote speech...

"... that I marshal the time and space to put my tangled thoughts about a topic into some order. The recent United Kingdom Literacy Association conference for the teachers of English focussed on spoken language. My first thought was that, as someone who always 'sets it down', perhaps I'd have little to say.

"Fat chance. There are so many aspects that I found it hard to settle on what I thought most interesting or important. So, if you're interested, follow the link to see what I had to say.

Back to School

The Harvey Grammar School mural

Anne is always amazed at the efforts to which some teachers go to encourage more and more - and wider - reading. But Stuart Wise, of the Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone has outshone them all.

Now he has sent pictures of the result, and Anne is delighted with them. She says:

Anne says  Look at this quite extraordinarily striking mural. Stunning!

It seems that Mr Wise has been designing murals for years along the school walls, and earlier this year he asked me if I'd mind being the subject of one of his displays. Mind? I couldn't wait to agree.

He's put me opposite Anthony Horowitz and between Cressida Cowell and Charles Dickens in the English corridor. Could I be prouder?

It seems any student coming to English, Film Studies or the School Library will see the displays every day. I don't see how anyone passing can resist the books they feature. I'm off to reread Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities right now.