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Laurie Halse Anderson, Class of 1979, Inducted in 2004

It’s probably no surprise to the people who knew her as a child that Laurie Halse Anderson grew up to be a writer.  After all, she would walk to school through the snow pretending to be a polar bear, and spent her senior year of high school as an exchange student in Denmark, living on a pig farm.  Her love of animals, words and books has led Laurie to her career as a nationally recognized writer of books for children and young adults.

Laurie has written numerous picture books, chapter books and novels, including Speak, which takes place at a suburban Syracuse high school based loosely on F-M.  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. 

Speak is being translated into ten foreign languages, including Chinese.  Her book Catalyst returns to the same high school setting as Speak, and won a Top Ten Best Books for Young People award from the American Library Association.  Laurie also writes the Wild at Heart animal adventure series for Pleasant Company Publications.

A library lover from childhood, Laurie returned from Denmark and attended Onondaga Community College before heading to Georgetown University where she studied foreign languages and linguistics. 

From there it was off into the real world, where she tried everything from milking cows to working as a stockbroker.  Still, words called her back.  She quit her job working at the Philadelphia Inquirer to focus on her first love - writing.  Eight years and many rejections later, Laurie’s first book, Ndito Runs, was accepted for publication.

Laurie returned to her hometown in 2003 as a speaker at the prestigious Gifford Lecture Series.  It was the first time a young adult novelist had ever appeared in the series, which has included Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prizing winning writers.

She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two teenage daughters and, according to her website, “too many books.”

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