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Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
Anne Fine becomes children's laureate
Anne Fine
Fine: Author of Madame Doubtfire and Goggle Eyes.
Author Anne Fine has been named as the second children's laureate for her "outstanding achievement" in writing.

Ms Fine is best-known for her children's books Goggle Eyes, Flour Babies and Madame Doubtfire.

The award was given to Ms Fine, who writes both children's and adult fiction, by poet laureate Andrew Motion on Wednesday.

Anne Fine's Bad Dreams
Bad Dreams: Nominated for WH Smith Award
It comes with a bursary of 10,000, and means that Ms Fine will take over the role from Quentin Blake, the previous children's laureate.

Madame Doubtfire was turned into a hit film - Mrs Doubtfire - starring Robin Williams, and Goggle Eyes was adapted for a BBC TV show.

She has previously won the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Literature Award, the Whitbread Children's Award and the Smarties Prize.

One of her most recent works, Bad Dreams, has been nominated for this year's WH Smith Book Award.

The 53-year-old said: "I did know about a week ago I was going to receive the award and I was really delighted and quite touched."

She added: "I've had a very intensive two years writing and I need a break from writing - it couldn't have come at a better time.

"My obsession is the support of libraries, this business of getting the right books to the right children at the right time."

Humble beginnings

The start of her career is almost as romantic as that of JK Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series, who dreamt up the character while penniless and taking refuge in an Edinburgh cafe.

Ms Fine wrote her first book, The Summer House Loon, to cheer herself up when she and her baby daughter were trapped in their freezing cold flat during a blizzard.

"I sat down to write one day when I couldn't get to the library because of a blizzard," she said.

"And what came out was for children. I don't know why."

She now lists her favourite place in the world as: "Hot bath, warm bed."

Adult books

Many see her ability as being able to combine serious issues with children's humour.

She began to try her hand at adult fiction in the late 1980s and subsequent titles include All Bones and Lies, Telling Liddy, Taking the Devil's Advice and The Killjoy.

A new children's laureate is announced every two years. Ms Fine was nominated for the award in 1999.

This year's judging panel included journalist Mark Lawson, Quentin Blake and children's book critic Julia Eccleshare.

The award was the idea of children's novelist Michael Morpurgo, and its founding patron was the then poet laureate Ted Hughes.

Anne Fine has written more than 40 booksA Fine affair
The prolific career of children's author
See also:

10 May 99 | Entertainment
Blake named children's laureate
07 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Harry Potter's magician
29 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Columbus sets sail with Potter film
16 May 01 | Arts
Anne Fine: A book for all ages
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