In a hot, faraway land, two baby boys are born under the same silver moon: Haroun, the son of the sultan, and Akil, the son of the gardener. As children they play together until one day Haroun has to learn princely ways. He is waited on hand and foot and all he can do for himself is eat, so every day he eats more and more and grows bigger and bigger. No doctors can offer a cure. But one day a hooded stranger tells Haroun that if he digs the garden he will find a key that will give him good health. After weeks of hard toil, Haroun doesn't find the key, but he does lose weight, and finds health and happiness once more.
Anne Fine leads a double life as an author. Of her eight novels for adult readers, she describes seven as black comedies and the first, The Killjoy, as simply 'dead black'. These adult novels cause readers to squirm with mingled horror and delight as she peels away the layers in all too familiar family relationships, exposing the tangled threads and conflicts beneath. It's therefore perhaps not surprising that Anne has openly expressed astonishment at the fact that murder in the domestic setting is not more common.
A great favourite for discussions in reading groups, Anne Fine's work has been published in over forty-five languages. Despite this, she remains best known in her home country, Britain, as a writer principally for children. She has twice won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Awards, the Guardian Children's Book Prize and numerous other prizes and awards. She was the second Children's Laureate from 2001-3, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded an OBE for services to children's literature.
Anne Fine is an entertaining and engaging speaker on the subject of books and reading, and is in demand the world over for her tireless enthusiasm, common sense approach to literacy, and for the deliciously wicked humour that permeates all her writing.
Find out more about Anne's dual lives at www.annefine.co.uk