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Anna Fienberg

Anna Fienberg grew up in a house filled with books. Her mother was a teacher librarian who relished stories as much as chocolates. 'On Sunday mornings we'd all lie in bed with our books, lost in magical wardrobes, witches’ spells, genies’ magic… What we were going to read next was just as important in our family as what was for lunch!' says Anna.

Anna started writing stories when she was eight, but never imagined being an author. She studied psychology, fascinated by the dark world of dreams. She gave up counselling after an unfortunate incident with an enraged man and a chair (he missed!), began writing and scored the best job in the world. 'Working for School Magazine was a treat,' Anna says. 'I couldn't believe you could get paid for sitting back comfortably in your chair, cappuccino in hand, reading over a thousand books a year. Heaven!' Of course, as an editor she also had to write reviews and articles, stories and plays. One of those stories for School Magazine later became her first book.

'Tashi began as a conversation with my mother. She was telling me how, when she was a child, she used to tell whoppers. Creative fibs. Tall stories. And the kids would crowd around, dying to hear the latest tale. We began talking about a character like her - a character who told fantastic stories - and over many cups of tea we cooked up Tashi’ - Anna Fienberg

What was your favourite book as a child?
‘My favourite books as a child were the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe contained the best idea, I thought, anyone could ever come up with. Imagine, opening up a wardrobe door and instead of finding shoes and shelves of jumpers, stepping out into a snowy land. To me, it was like all books expressed in this one idea – the magical delight of opening a first page, and being transported beyond the ordinary, into the extraordinary.’

What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
‘The best thing about being a writer is that you can sit around in your pyjamas all day and talk to yourself – and not feel guilty because it’s your job! You can be alone with your imagination and your lantern, embarking on secret and dangerous journeys, and be back in time to pick up the children and make the dinner. The worst things are that no one is telling you to sit down at the computer, you have to tell yourself to work but sometimes, if you’re stuck, or a character is being rebellious and sulking, you drift off and clean the kitchen floor and you don’t write enough.’

Where do you do your writing?
‘I write at home, in my bedroom. I have a small desk and a computer near my bed, so I just have to drift across a couple of steps and I’m at work (in my pyjamas). I do carry a notebook though and, if I get a good idea, I jot it down. Often, listening to the radio in the car I hear something interesting and pull over for a minute. If I haven’t got a notebook I write on my shopping list. It might go something like this: dozen eggs, 2 cucumbers, carrots, mutton birds migrate from Australia toward Japan and Siberia every year…’

What makes you laugh?
‘I love laughing. My son makes me laugh, he is a wonderful mimic. Lots of things make me laugh – watching people at the lights in their cars when they think no one is looking, my huge slobbery dog Fig who means well but is incredibly clumsy, my father’s dreadful puns, funny books, Kim Gamble’s accounts of his eccentric but hilarious childhood…’

School visits by Anna (to all Australian states) can be organised through Lateral Learning.
Visit http://www.laterallearning.com/
or email bookings@laterallearning.com.au

Download and print this author profile.

View Kim Gamble's Profile


Books by this Author

The 2nd Big Big Book of Tashi

The 2nd Big Big Book of Tashi

Published: November 2006

Another five fabulous Tashi books all together in one big, fat volume. Ten terrific Tashi stories!

Tashi and the Forbidden Room

Tashi and the Forbidden Room

Published: July 2006

The twelfth book in the Tashi series of daring adventures and tall tales about magic, courage and the triumph of brains over brawn. Created by the much loved, multi-award winning author/illustrator team of Anna and Barbara Fienberg and Kim Gamble.

Tashi and the Mixed-up Monster

Tashi and the Mixed-up Monster

Published: July 2007

In the fourteenth book about the ever-popular Tashi, a fire-breathing monster breaks out of Wise-as-an-Owl's workshop and threatens them all, and when Tashi is accused of killing the carp in Soh Meen's pond, he uses a Truth Potion to find the real culprit.

Minton Goes! Underwater & Home At Last

Minton Goes! Underwater & Home At Last

Published: February 2008

Minton the spotty salamander loves things that move, and he's always ready for adventure, but Turtle worries that it will end in disaster. From the creators of Tashi, here are two satisfying stories in one book, for beginner readers aged 4-6. Includes a guide to making your own model submarine and hot air balloon.

Minton Goes! Sailing & Flying

Minton Goes! Sailing & Flying

Published: February 2008

Minton the spotty salamander loves things that move, and he's always ready for adventure, but Turtle worries that it will end in disaster. From the creators of Tashi, here are two satisfying stories in one book, for beginner readers aged 4-6. Includes a guide to making your own model boat and plane.

The Hottest Boy who ever lived

The Hottest Boy who ever lived

Published: March 2009

The first time Minton saw him, Hector was shooting right out of a volcano! Hector is so very hot that only Minton can be near him, so how will he ever find more friends? This extraordinary tale for young children is from the creators of the Tashi books and the Minton Goes! series. Full colour illustrations throughout.

Tashi and the Golem

Tashi and the Golem

Published: September 2009

The sixteenth book of Tashi's adventures, in which Tashi and his friends use clay and magic to make a golem who will stand up to the bully boy, Bang Bang. But will their big golem obey them? And can they rescue Ah Chu's baby sister from the River Pirate before the pirates sail away?

Amazing Tashi Activity Book

Amazing Tashi Activity Book

Published: October 2009

An amazing full-colour activity book about everyone's favourite adventuring hero Tashi! Play the board game, make a dragon, a boat, a pop-up tiger card and a diorama. Do puzzles, a maze, learn how to draw Tashi and then read a brand new Tashi adventure story. The perfect gift for 5-8 year olds.

Madeline the Mermaid

Madeline the Mermaid

Published: June 2010

Some people tell stories about mermaids and their wild, wicked ways, but Madeline is the friendliest mermaid you could ever meet. The creator of Tashi, Anna Fienberg, invites you into the magical world of Madeline the Mermaid, and her merdog, Byron, and mercat, Bella.

Great Big Enormous Book of Tashi

Great Big Enormous Book of Tashi

Published: October 2010

Tashi's too cunning for the war lord and the wicked baron, and far too clever for giants, ghosts and demons. And Tashi tells the best stories ever! When he comes face to face with sneaky strangers, ancient warriors, fearless kidnappers or even a haunted house...Tashi always knows what to do: stay calm, think hard and move fast!

The Magnificent Nose and Other Marvels

The Magnificent Nose and Other Marvels

Published: January 1998

A charming collection of stories about the adventures of five different children by the much-loved creators of Tashi.

Louis Beside Himself

Louis Beside Himself

Published: August 2012

When a burglar jumps through the kitchen window one night, Louis knows he should get him in a wrestling-hold while he has the advantage, but his heart is hammering and his legs feel like wobbly air... A larger-than-life story from Anna Fienberg, author of the classic Tashi series and Horrendo's Curse.

Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe

Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe

Published: October 2012

A picture book in six chapters by much-loved and acclaimed picture-book creators Anna Fienberg and Stephen Michael King. The irrepressible Figaro and his cat-friend Rumba get caught up in cat-napping adventure when they ride the Very Fast Train.

The Tashi Collection

The Tashi Collection

Published: November 2012

The Complete Collection of the sixteen Tashi books in a gorgeous slipcase edition. There are two stories in each book - that makes thirty-two fabulous Tashi adventures! Tashi is a brave as he's clever, and he tells the best stories ever. This is a lovely gift and a must for every Tashi fan.

Horrendo's Curse

Horrendo's Curse

Published: August 2013

A rib-tickling, larger-than-life pirate adventure for 7 to 11 year olds, in an enjoyable easy-to-read comic book form. Adapted from the acclaimed novel.

Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Published: October 2013

Another exciting adventure starring the irrepressible Figaro and his cat-friend Rumba, and the Cool Cats from the cafe - an entertaining picture book in five chapters by Anna Fienberg and Stephen Michael King.

Once Tashi Met a Dragon

Once Tashi Met a Dragon

Published: November 2013

In this fabulous full-colour picture book, Tashi rides on a white tiger to the top of the mountain to see why the dragon is not sending the rains to his village.

Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe

Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe

Published: January 2014

In this young chapter book by much-loved and acclaimed creators Anna Fienberg and Stephen Michael King, the irrepressible Figaro and his cat-friend Rumba get caught up in cat-napping adventure when they ride the Very Fast Train.

Tashi and the Wicked Magician

Tashi and the Wicked Magician

Published: November 2014

Come with Tashi and his friend Jack on four fabulous adventures of mystery and magic. In this classic storybook, Tashi tells tales of courage and daring, and each story features a beautiful colour illustration.

Minton Goes!

Minton Goes!

Published: January 2015

One big book with all the Minton Goes! adventures, plus the story of Minton and the Hottest Boy who ever lived. Minton the spotty salamander loves things that move - and he finds just what he needs to make them. He's always keen for adventure, but his friend Turtle always worries that it will end in disaster. A fabulous story collection from the creators of Tashi.

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