Anderson was born and raised in New York state. As a daughter of a minister who loved telling stories, she inherited that love of sharing and writing. As a teen, she studied in Denmark, and grew to love the language and linguistics itself, which led to her degree in Linguistics at Georgetown University. She married Greg Anderson near this time and raised two children; the pair later divorced and she remarried Scot Larrabee and blended their respective families.
While she held other jobs, such as a journalist and writer of children’s books, her first foray into writing for teens began with Speak (1999), a novel about Melinda Sordino. Melinda is a teen who, after being raped and shamed, isolates herself and spirals. By the end of the novel, Melinda is able to use her voice to speak again, however, and regains her agency. The novel became a best-seller and led to a National Book Award nomination, as well as several challenges in schools and libraries. The book was adapted to a film in 2004. In 2019, she released a poetic memoir about the writing of Speak and her childhood, and shared that Speak was a semi-autobiographical novel about her own trauma at age 13.
Anderson has continued to write YA and middle-grade novels, which include Catalyst (2002), Wintergirls (2009), the Seeds of America series (2008 - 2016) and The Impossible Knife of Memory (2014).
Anderson is an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, and is a member of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) leadership council. She also fiercely advocates for intellectual freedom through her own work and that of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Awards and Recognition (from author website):
New York Times Bestselling Author
Two-time National Book Award nominee
2018 and 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Candidate
2015 Outstanding Alumni Award, American Association of Community Colleges
2015 Intellectual Freedom Award, National Council of Teachers of English
2011 Free Speech Defender Award, National Coalition Against Censorship
2010 School Library Month Spokesperson for American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of American Library Association (ALA)
2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award, given by the American Library Association for significant and lasting achievement in young adult literature
2008 Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) Award, given to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the field of adolescent literature
2002 Free Library of Philadelphia/Drexel University Children’s Literature Citation
Source: Author’s bio on website
Anderson, L.H. (2019). Shout. New York: Viking.
Anderson, L.H. (2019). About the author. Retrieved from http://madwomanintheforest.com/about-the-author/
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