“In the Fifties, when a strong child was dealing with difficult circumstances, there was always a rescue at the end of the book and it was always a middle-class rescue,” she said.Speaking on the same panel at the Festival, Fine's concerns were rejected by bestselling children's writer Melvin Burgess:
“The child would win a scholarship to Roedean or something, and go on to do very well. That was felt to be unrealistic and so there was a move away from that. Books for children became much more concerned with realism, or what we see as realism.
“But where is the hope? How do we offer them hope within that? It may be that realism has gone too far in literature for children. I am not sure that we are opening doors for children who read these books, or helping them to develop their aspirations.”
“I have had letters talking about the humanity of my books, even when the situations the characters are in are very dark and difficult. Just the fact that they are still making jokes and falling in love. Perhaps the light of hope comes from the reader and not the story.”