Laurie Halse Anderson was born in Potsdam, New York in 1961. During her senior year of high school, Anderson left home and spent thirteen months as an exchange student living on a pig farm in Denmark. This experience encouraged her to attend college when she returned to the United States. Anderson earned her associate's degree after completing two years at Onondaga Community College, where she worked on a dairy farm. Upon graduation, Anderson transferred to Georgetown University where she earned a Bachelor's degree in 1984.
She began her career as a freelance reporter, but soon moved to writing children's picture books. Many of her picture books are intended to teach children American history. Anderson is best known, however, for her young adult novels. In 1999, Anderson published Speak, her most famous work. It was a National Book Award finalist, a New York Times best seller, and a Printz Honor Book. The novel was added to school curricula across the country and a film version was released in 2004, starring Kristen Stewart as Melinda. Three years later, she published Catalyst, her second young adult novel. Anderson's other young adult works include Prom (2005), Twisted (2007), and Wintergirls (2009). In addition to contemporary fiction, Anderson has published several historical fiction novels, Fever 1793 (2000), Chains (2008), and Forge (2010).
In 2009, the Young Adult Library Services Association presented Anderson with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak. She also received the ALAN award from the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents in 2008, recognizing her outstanding achievements in the field of adolescent literature. In 2010, the American Association of School Librarians chose Anderson as their School Library Month spokesperson.
Anderson currently resides in northern New York with her husband, Scot. She has four children.
Study Guides on Works by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published in 2000, Fever 1793 is Laure Halse Anderson’s novel about the devastating epidemic of Yellow Fever that ravaged through Philadelphia during the summer of 1793. While the story is told through the fictional eyes of Matilda “Mattie” Cook,...
Speak is Laurie Halse Anderson's first young adult novel. It was published in 1999 by Penguin Group and re-released in 2006 as a "platinum edition" containing an interview with the author. The novel tells the story of Melinda Sordino, a Syracuse...