- Children’s Books: Writing For The Youngest Readers
Saturday 8 June
Anna is the author of many popular and award-winning books for children of all ages. A storyteller with a special talent for fantasy and things magical, her work includes the Tashi series, which has been translated into 16 languages, Minton Goes!, Horrendo’s Curse, Wicked’s Way, The Complete Adventures of Figaro and Rumba and 2018’s Monsters. She has also written a book for adults, Escape (2009).
Anna grew up in a house filled with books. Her mother was a teacher librarian who relished stories as much as chocolates. ‘On Sunday mornings we’d all lie in bed with our books, lost in magical wardrobes, witches’ spells, genies’ magic… What we were going to read next was just as important in our family as what was for lunch!’ says Anna.
She started writing stories when she was eight, but never imagined being an author. She studied psychology, fascinated by the dark world of dreams, but gave up counselling after an unfortunate incident with an enraged man and a chair (he missed!), began writing and scored the best job in the world. ‘Working for School Magazine was a treat,’ Anna says. ‘I couldn’t believe you could get paid for sitting back comfortably in your chair, cappuccino in hand, reading over a thousand books a year. Heaven!’ Of course, as an editor she also had to write reviews and articles, stories and plays. One of those stories for School Magazine later became her first book.
‘Tashi began as a conversation with my mother. She was telling me how, when she was a child, she used to tell whoppers. Creative fibs. Tall stories. And the kids would crowd around, dying to hear the latest tale. We began talking about a character like her—a character who told fantastic stories—and over many cups of tea we cooked up Tashi.’