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“I write the books for me. (Me at 5, me at 14.) Then hope there are readers out there who like the same sorts of books I do.”–Anne FineAnne Fine is a two-time winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal and the author of many acclaimed books for children, including Flour Babies, The Tulip Touch, and the Robin Williams movie hit Mrs. Doubtfire.ABOUT THE AUTHORWhen 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. But I was good at writing stories, and I had a good deal of practice.My primary school teacher came in every Monday morning in the worst of moods. ‘Fetch my bag’. He’d lay his leather strap across the front of his desk as a threat or warning. Then he’d turn and chalk up three titles on the board: A Day in the Life of a Lost Umbrella, My Best Friend, The Worst Advice I ever Took; anything like that. Then: ‘I want absolute silence till break-time’ he’d say, nursing his hungover head. ‘The first person to whisper gets the strap’.I loved those double lessons more than anything in the world (except for reading). No endless discussions. No sharing of ideas. No realising that someone else had also had your brilliant idea. I covered reams of paper. I wrote fast. And I learned to judge the form and the length of a story. It was the best training I could ever have had, though I didn’t know I’d be a writer.I still work with a pencil and rubber in absolute silence. I still hide my work with my arms if anyone walks past, and I wouldn’t dream of talking about what I’m writing or let a soul look at it until it’s completely finished. Oh – and I still prefer reading other people’s books to writing my own!A lot of my work, even for fairly young readers, raises quite serious social issues. I believe that many personal decisions have a social or political resonance, and the way people try to pick their way through tricky family situations interests me. But people won’t (and shouldn’t) read books that don’t hold their interest, and I still adore funny books. So 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 for me).
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