Anne Fine

Anne Fine, OBE, FRSL (born 7 December 1947) is an English writer. Although best known for children's books, she also writes for adults. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and she was appointed an OBE in 2003.[2]

Anne Fine
Born (1947-12-07) 7 December 1947 (age 73)
Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
GenreChildren's literature (all ages); black comedy
Notable works
Notable awardsCarnegie Medal
1989, 1992
Guardian Prize
SpouseKit Fine (divorced)
PartnerDick Warren[1]
ChildrenCordelia Fine
Ione Fine

Fine has written more than seventy children's books, including two winners of the annual Carnegie Medal and three highly commended runners-up.[3][a] For some of those five books she also won the Guardian Prize, one Smarties Prize, two Whitbread Awards, and she was twice the Children's Author of the Year.

For her contribution as a children's writer, Fine was a runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1998.[4][5] From 2001 to 2003, she was the second Children's Laureate in the UK.[6]

Early lifeEdit

Fine was born and raised in Leicester and educated in neighbouring midland counties of England. She attended Northampton High School and earned a degree in politics from the University of Warwick. She was married to the philosopher Kit Fine until they were divorced; she has now been with her partner Dick Warren for more than twenty years.[1] She currently lives in Barnard Castle, County Durham, England. She and Kit Fine have two daughters named Cordelia Fine and Ione Fine.

She has four sisters; her father was an electrical engineer and she grew up in Fareham, Hampshire. The eldest of the sisters is Elizabeth Arnold who also writes books for children; the three younger sisters were triplets. She studied History and Politics at university, got married, and then her daughter Ione was born. At age 24, she wrote her first book.[7]


Describing the start of her writing career, Fine has written: “In 1971 my first daughter was born. Unable to get to the library in a snowstorm to change my library books, in desperation I sat down and started to write a novel. Clearly this was the right job for me, for I have never stopped writing for more than a few weeks since”.[8] In September 2010, Fine told The Daily Telegraph’s Jessica Salter that this first book lay under her bed after being rejected by two publishers, adding “Five years later I unearthed it and entered it in a competition where I was runner-up, and it was finally published in 1978”.[1]

Her books for older children include Madame Doubtfire (1987), a satirical novel[9] that Twentieth Century Fox filmed as Mrs. Doubtfire, starring Robin Williams. Goggle-Eyes (Hamish Hamilton, 1989) was adapted for television by Deborah Hall for the BBC.

Her books for middle children include Bill's New Frock (Methuen, 1989) and How to Write Really Badly (1996).

Her work has been translated into 45 languages.[10]

In March 2014, Fine lent her support to the campaign Let Books Be Books, which aims to persuade publishers of children's books to stop labelling and promoting books as "for boys" or "for girls". She told UK newspaper The Guardian: "You'd think this battle would have been won decades ago. But even some seemingly bright and observant adults are buying into it again […] There are girls of all sorts, with all interests, and boys of all sorts with all interests. Just meeting a few children should make that obvious enough. But no, these idiotic notions are spouted so often they become a self-fulfilling societal straitjacket from which all our children suffer".[11]

Awards and nominationsEdit

The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children's books. In 1998, Fine was one of five finalists for the writing award.[4][5]

She won the 1989 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising Goggle-Eyes as that year's best children's book,[12] and she was one of two highly commended runners-up for the same Medal with Bill's New Frock.[3][a] She also won the once-in-a-lifetime Guardian Prize for Goggle-Eyes[13] and the Smarties Prize in ages category 6–8 years for Bill's New Frock.

Three years later, she won the Carnegie Medal again for Flour Babies (Hamilton, 1992), which was also named the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year. The Tulip Touch (Hamilton, 1996) was her second Whitbread winner and her second highly commended for the Carnegie.

Up on Cloud Nine (Doubleday, 2002) was the last highly commended Carnegie runner-up, a distinction then used 29 times in 24 years. Fine is one of seven authors to win two Carnegie Medals (1936–2012) and the only author of three Highly Commended books.[3][a]

Fine was the second Children's Laureate (2001–03)[14] and received the OBE for services to literature in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List.[15]

Runners-up, nominations, etc.
  • 1984 Guardian shortlist – The Granny Project
  • 1987 Guardian shortlist – Madame Doubtfire
  • 1987 Whitbread shortlist – Madame Doubtfire
  • 1989 Carnegie, highly commended – Bill's New Frock[3]
  • 1993 Carnegie shortlist – The Angel of Nitshill Road
  • 1996 Carnegie, highly commended – Tulip Touch[3]
  • 2002 Carnegie, highly commended – Up on Cloud Nine[3]
  • 2004 shortlist for the Red House Children's Book Award, Younger Readers – The More The Merrier
  • 2006 Carnegie shortlist – The Road of Bones
  • 2007 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, ages 6–8, second place – Ivan the Terrible
  • 2014 Carnegie shortlist - Blood Family

Selected worksEdit

Picture booksEdit

  • Poor Monty (1991) ISBN 1-4052-1097-4
  • Ruggles (2001, ISBN 0-86264-895-5), illustrated by Ruth Brown
  • Big Red Balloon (2012)
  • Hole in the Road (2014)
  • Under the Bed (2015)

For younger childrenEdit

For middle childrenEdit

For older childrenEdit

For adultsEdit


  1. ^ a b c Today there are usually eight books on the Carnegie shortlist. CCSU lists 32 "Highly Commended" runners-up for the Carnegie Medal from 1966 to 2002 but only three before 1979 when the distinction became approximately annual. There were 29 "HC" books in 24 years including two in 1989 and one each in 1996 and 2002. (The "Commended" distinction was used about 135 times from 1954 to 2002.)
    • No one has won three Carnegies. Among the seven authors with two Medals, six were active during 1966–2002 and all wrote at least one highly commended runner-up, led by Anne Fine with three.
  2. ^ a b c Anne Fine's first two books, The Summer-House Loon and The Other Darker Ned, published by Methuen Children's Books in 1978 and 1979, were updated, linked by new text, and published by Corgi Children's Books in 2006 under the title On The Summerhouse Steps.


  1. ^ a b c Salter, Jessica (14 September 2010). "World of Anne Fine, author". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  2. ^ "Anne Fine Awarded OBE". Jubilee Books. 21 July 2003. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Carnegie Medal Award". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Hans Christian Andersen Awards". International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Candidates for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 1956–2002". The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal. 2002. Pages 110–18. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online ( Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Anne Fine". Children's Laureate ( Booktrust. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  7. ^ Hollindale, Peter (1999) An Interview with Anne Fine. London: Mammoth
  8. ^ Anne Fine. "Anne Fine's Biography". Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  9. ^ Mary Ellen Snodgrass, Encyclopaedia of Satirical Literature, Oxford, 1996, p. xv.
  10. ^ "Anne Fine's books in translation" Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  11. ^ Flood, Alison (7 March 2014). "Parents push to end gender division of boys' and girls' books". Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  12. ^ a b c (Carnegie Winner 1989). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  13. ^ a b c "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". theguardian 12 March 2001. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Anne Fine: Children's Laureate 2001-3". Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  15. ^ "CBE for former Bishop of Durham". BBC News. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Anne Fine" Archived 11 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Literature: Writers. British Council. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  17. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 1992). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2 August 2012.

External linksEdit

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Quentin Blake
Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Michael Morpurgo