Laurie Halse Anderson Biography
Laurie Halse (rhymes with "waltz") Anderson pretended she was a polar bear when she walked to school through the snow of Syracuse, New York. As a little girl, she would pound away at her father's old typewriter for hours, writing newspaper columns, stories, and letters. She loved watching her father write poetry and reading the funnies on the floor of his office. Laurie fell in love with words when her second-grade teacher taught her how to write haiku. Her favorite book is the dictionary, which is a good thing because she is a terrible speller. She tried to read every book in her school library, a heavenly place. She loves librarians!
One of her favorite books was Heidi. This led to curiosity about foreign cultures. As a senior in high school, she was an American Field Service exchange student to Denmark, where she lived on a pig farm. She skipped both her prom and graduation ceremonies and had a great time there. She can still speak Danish.
Laurie Halse Anderson never intended to be an author. At Georgetown University, she majored in foreign languages and linguistics. She hit the real world with no idea of what kind of work she wanted to do.
She tried everything, including cleaning banks, milking cows and working as a stockbroker. She hated all of it. Working as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer was a slight improvement, but she eventually quit to write books. After eight long, rejection-filled years, she has finally qualified as an overnight success.
Lauries books for children and teenagers have attracted a lot of attention. Her first novel, speak, was a National Book Award Finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor book, a New York Times bestseller, and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Publishers Weekly, called Speak a stunning first novel, in which Ms. Anderson uses keen observations and vivid imagery to pull readers into the head of an isolated teenager. Speak is being translated into ten foreign languages, including Chinese and Catalan. The film rights have been optioned and the entire Anderson family has fingers crossed about the movie.
In addition to novels, Laurie writes chapter books for elementary age children and picture books for the pre-school set. Along with writing, she does a great deal of speaking to schoolchildren and at librarian and teachers conferences across the country.
This biography was last updated on 04/27/2009.
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