My Name Is Fynn…

“…well that’s not quite true; my real name doesn’t matter all that much since my friends all called me Fynn and it stuck. If you know your Irish mythology you will know that Fynn was pretty big; me too. Standing about six foot two, weighing some sixteen stone odd, close to being a fanatic on physical culture, the son of an Irish mother and a Welsh father, with a passion for hot saveloys and chocolate raisins – not together I might add. My great delight was to roam about dockland in the night-time, particularly if it was foggy.”

Thus Fynn introduced himself in Chapter One of Mister God, This Is Anna, first published in 1974, and his true identity has remained a mystery for over 35 years. This website contains some memories and reflections of people who knew him, along with research results of Anna enthusiasts who wanted to learn more about him, which all builds up to somewhat of a profile of Syd Hopkins, the real Fynn, a very special person.

For general enquiries, if you knew Syd or can supply any further information,
please email

Malmesbury Road, London E3 – Guerin Street is to the left by the lamp post
opposite the primary school Syd attended.

Early Life (1919 – 1939
Little is known about Syd’s early life, besides what can be gleaned from his books. He was born on 26 March 1919 at 15 Guerin Street, Bow, London E3, and it is fairly safe to assume that he lived his first twenty years there.Guerin Street was a small, dead-end street of some 21 terraced houses, leading off Malmesbury Road and ending where the main Great Eastern railway line passed across the end of the street. This small community is vividly described in Mister God, This Is Anna, his first book (see below). Sadly there is now no trace of Guerin Street after comprehensive redevelopment (probably in the 1970s), and although Malmesbury Road still exists, it has also been redeveloped and diverted away from its original course. However, other houses of the type in which Syd grew up are still plentiful in the area. Syd gained a brother, William Stanley (“Stan”) in August 1922. Some time after this (but before 1926), Syd’s father, Sydney Thomas, died. Both of these events are alluded to in MGTIA.

Map of the local area where Syd spent his early life

In the early 1930s, we learn from the books that Syd attended a “posh” school, Coopers Company College, a local Grammar School, thanks to a scholarship bursary, where his love of mathematics was recognised and encouraged by a teacher there, John D. Hodge. One of Hodge’s nicknames was “The Black Knight” and he is a central character in the third book, Anna and the Black Knight.Syd’s life-changing meeting with Anna, a little runaway not yet 5 years of age, is said to have taken place in November 1935, by which time Syd had left left school aged 16 and was employed locally by The Russian Oil and Petroleum Company, which specialised in the blending of oils, where he had aspirations to qualify as a research chemist. In A&TBK Syd reveals that he also considered entering the priesthood, but rejected the idea: “I just wasn’t sure enough for that.”

Syd’s friendship with Anna, who was taken into the ever-changing Hopkins household, is the main subject of MGTIA and the two subsequent books. Anna’s death in an accident, probably (by deduction) in early 1939, left Syd traumatised to an extent which can only be imagined. According to his widow Jill, Syd suffered an unexplained fall off a cliff in North Devon, and was referred to Finchden Manor, a therapeutic community near Tenterden, Kent, by a psychiatrist, because he was experiencing symptoms of a phobia about falling, resulting in chronic insomnia.

Finchden Manor, home of the therapeutic community
founded by George Lyward OBE. It closed in 1974.

Finchden Manor (1939 – 1970)
Syd had come to Finchden Manor in 1939 after a meeting with me in Harley Street, he with learned books under his arm, me drawing little match-stick-like figures to illustrate my points. He became willing to join us at Finchden Manor only after I had disclosed the fact that there he would find Mister Knox and his laboratories. He shared a room with the son of wealthy parents who wanted privacy in order to ���study agricultural chemistry’. Agricultural chemistry, my foot! Frequently there seemed to be sounds of music coming from their room – over the big kitchen – but whenever anybody went to investigate the music stopped, for Syd had arranged that the opening of the door turned off the music.” (George Lyward – His Autobiography, 2009)

Finchden was requisitioned by the Army in 1940 for the duration of the war, and the community evacuated to Shropshire. On returning in 1946, Syd was on the staff and supervised the catering, as well as his role as mentor and counsellor.

“When I first came to Finchden Manor with my parents for an ‘interview’, I was taken to Syd’s room and although I was shy, he somehow made me feel I was a human being and not something to be punished for my wild ways. He made me feel I was an equal, and listened to me. While at FM, I sometimes went to have a chat. He talked about anything and everything, explained how a computer worked, and seemed to know about anything mathematical or scientific. When I found out, quite recently, that he had walked and married I wondered how, but was thankful. Then his books were a surprise. I guess that his intellect and capacity were remarkable, so we should not wonder how or why he did it. One thing I am sure of is that he did a great deal more good than harm in his life.” (Andrew S. via email, 2009)

“One by no means trusting boy remarked of Syd, that ‘you could not like him, you could only love him’. He had been studying to be a research chemist by profession. Heftily built, formerly an athlete, his feats of strength had become a legend; he had been able to lift two boys and hold them from the ground, one on either arm. An accident to his spine some years ago had made it impossible for him to walk without a stick, and he was seldom out of pain. His massive and still young face had the nobility of a Cockney Samson. He played the piano, the accordion, and other instruments. He was in remote or immediate control, as the occasion demanded, of the cooking. It was he who helped the boys who wanted to ‘do wireless’ and, if asked, taught or examined them in chemistry and physics.

The loss of his physical vigour may have deepened the resources of a spiritual and speculative nature already deep. The role into which he had moved at Finchden seemed to be that of one who reassured. The slowness of his movements seemed now to be in character. He took things quietly, humorously, and without hurry; and to many of the boys, especially the younger and more excitable, his mere appearance had the effect of a caress. He, like all the other members of the staff, knew himself thoroughly, and knew therefore how to prevent exploitation of his own particular strength, which lay in gentleness.”
(Mr. Lyward’s Answer by Michael Burn , 1956)

Following an accident when he fell and injured his spine on a concrete plinth, Syd had to take a lot of bed rest, and solved his mobility problem by scooting around on a trolley for a while, and then realised he could shuffle around on his knees without causing too much pain.The Lywards invited him to live with them in a small suite of rooms on the ground floor, where he remained until he left to get married to Jill Crawford-Benson in 1970. Syd’s restricted mobility meant he could be somewhat reclusive at times, but he did shuffle into the boys’ side a couple of times a week, usually to play the piano, and sometimes, supported by a bench, play table tennis. Of course, his door was always open for any of the boys who wanted a chat, or help building a radio, or anything at all really.

Left: Syd’s famously cheeky smile.
Right: with David Hobbs and George Lyward in The Oak Room

Later Life (1970 – 1999)
Syd and Jill first met at Finchden in 1961, when Jill, a social work student, was assigned a three month residential placement. By coincidence, Jill’s family lived in Tenterden, and she became a regular visitor to Finchden after her placement . Over the following nine years Syd and Jill developed a very special friendship. With encouragement from Jill, Syd found the confidence to get off his knees and walk again, so that he could achieve a ‘normal life’. The proof of his determination to overcome thirty years of physical debilitation was when he escorted his new bride down the aisle of Saint Mildred’s church, Tenterden, to the acclaim of family, friends and the Finchden community.

The newly-wed couple moved to Somerset, where Syd continued with his math studies and made a living as a computer programmer. Meanwhile, he began to write about his early life in the East End of London, and the life-changing relationship with Anna, which developed into Mister God, This Is Anna, published in 1974. The success of MGTIA inspired Syd to produce two more books, with Jill acting as his literary editor and agent.Syd experienced increasing health problems in his later years and the fact he rose above these was quite an achievement. Right up to his final illness, Syd remained positive and creative.

Syd’s grave in Somerset. The Latin inscription translates as
“Let what is to be found in the glory of God be found”

“The two interlocking circles on Syd’s headstone formed the basis of most of Syd’s mathematics. He kept two interlocking rings near him all the time and I still have them. One day when visiting him at Finchden, I was wearing a silver brooch of my grandmother’s made into two interlocking circles, he told me how important this configuration was for him. So we agreed that our wedding ring would be based on the same design. And Syd often used the design as a motif on letters, cards, etc. So it seemed very appropriate to put it on his gravestone. And, for us, it has symbolised our union.” (Mrs Jill Hopkins)

Sydney Hopkins is “Fynn!”
“Since first reading Mister God, This Is Anna in 1987, and Anna’s Book, then Anna and the Black Knight several years later, I have been intrigued about the author ‘Fynn’. The book had a big impact on my life at the time, so naturally I wanted to learn more.However I could find nothing about Fynn in libraries or even by visiting the Mile End area where the events in the books took place. Then in the late 1990’s a little something called the Internet came into my life. I searched for Fynn and the books he wrote, but could find nothing about him until discovering Wikipedia in 2004, where rumours started to surface over the next three years or so about a guy called Sydney Hopkins being Fynn, that he had died in 1999 and was buried in a village in Somerset.

On 1st August 2007 I travelled down to Somerset to try and find Syd’s grave. Using my car’s satellite navigation I found the village mentioned relatively easily, not far from the town of Taunton. The church there is quite large as is the graveyard, and after searching for ages there was no sign of a Syd Hopkins buried anywhere there. Despondent, I was just leaving the churchyard when by the church gate I bumped into a lady coming in who turned out to be the vicar of the church. I asked her if she knew of anyone buried there called Syd Hopkins and she said ‘Oh yes Syd the author! His widow still lives in this area. But he isn’t here, he’s buried in another village nearby.’ She then gave me directions. After driving for what seemed like hours I realised I was lost, deep in the Somerset countryside. Just as I was about to give up, as if out of nowhere there appeared ahead a little village and the sign saying it was the right one! Driving past the sign, the church tower was visible across the village and I made my way towards it, my heart racing a little…

The church was pretty large and the graveyard sprawling. It took a while, but tucked away at the very back of the graveyard I saw the name on one of the graves; Sydney George Hopkins.And then the thrill – there was an inscription underneath which read ‘Quod est inveniendum ad gloriam Dei sit inveniendum‘, words found in Anna and the Black Knight … this was confirmation that Syd was Fynn!Feeling a little shaky and emotional, I went back to my car to get my camera and a red rose that I had plucked from my garden. I laid the rose on Syd’s grave and said some words of thanks to him, wherever he was.Although it was in the middle of the village and mid afternoon, there was not a sound to be heard or a soul to be seen, and I had a feeling of deep peace and a strong sense that Syd was there with me somehow, along with Anna … laughing. I couldn’t help but laugh too!”

Syd Hopkins

The Anna Books

Mr God, This Is AnnaAnna And Mr GodAnna And The Black Knight
2011 UPDATE: a USA production company, Island Filmworks, has bought
the film rights to all three books and is currently working on MGTIA.

The first, and most well-known, of the “Anna” books is Mister God, This Is Anna, published in 1974. The book opens with teenager Fynn’s first encounter with little Anna on a foggy night on the streets of pre-war London’s East End. She turns out to be just 4 years old and homeless, and Fynn takes her back home to meet his family, where she willingly takes up residence.Through a series of episodes, the book narrates the developing bond between Fynn and Anna as they meet local characters and, through Fynn’s tuition, explore science, mathematics and Anna’s very individualistic philosophy, and the effect that her boundless enthusiasm has on all who meet her. The book ends with Anna’s accidental death at age 7.It was immediately successful, and eventually Syd was persuaded to produce two sequels. Anna’s Book is a small volume which appeared in 1986 and consists of a sequence of the little girl’s writings. Finally, 1990 saw the publication of Anna and the Black Knight, with more tales of Fynn’s adventures with Anna, the local community, and in particular their relationship with John Hodge, a teacher at Fynn’s old school, and a profound sceptic. Gradually he warms to Anna’s persistent questioning and comes under the spell of her passion for life.The three books have remained in print since publication, and have reached a worldwide audience of millions, with translations into more than two dozen languages. Currently, a paperback entitled Anna and Mister God contains all three volumes under one cover. Click here for the Introduction to MGTIA 1975 USA edition by William Collins.

Also read: Discovering ‘Mister God, This Is Anna’ by Nigel C Fortune

Researchers: John Gray, Nigel C. Fortune and John Stevenson

92 thoughts on “My Name Is Fynn…

  1. I knew Syd whilst at Finchden 1953-6 and remember some of the tales he told, including the origin of the spelling of his name. You are welcome to contact me by email if you want any more, including more photos of him as I see you already have one of mine. My address is

    1. A friend suggested I read “Mr God, This is Anna over 35 years ago. I was soo touched by the story of Fynn and Anna and was also curious about who Fynn the author was. I had given my copy away years ago and wasnt sure was still in print. Recently purchased two copies. One to read again and the other to give to someone. I believe this to be the most heartfelt book i have ever read. Thank you for the information about “Fynn” Sincerely, Carol from California

      1. Amen!…I read Mister God….years and years ago and now in my recovery from shoulder surgery…Ive just finished it and am smiling thru my tears…bravo Amma Bravo Fynn..bravo fellow fanxox

    2. hello…i just read about Fynn …and your comment…I would absolutely love to hear any more about his tales…and in particular the origin and spelling of his name…and photos……not least since I found the book , “Mister God This is Anna” as a very disturbed child, and years after reading it I changed my whole name…..and took Fynn as my middle name….since for me it was a name full of love. it is a joy to read your comment, and so unexpected to be reading about this at all. Thank you

        1. Hi there – the name Fynn (or Finn) can be traced back from two different sources. One is from Finnland and the name literally means : the man from Finnland and the other is indeed from Irish Mythology and refers to Fionn mac Cumhaill (/ˈfɪn məˈkuːl/ fin mə-kool; Irish pronunciation: [ˈfʲin̪ˠ mˠakˠ ˈkuːw̃əlːʲ];[1] Old Irish: Find mac Cumail or Umaill), sometimes transcribed in English as Finn MacCool or Finn MacCoul, was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish mythology, occurring also in the mythologies of Scotland and the Isle of Man. The stories of Fionn and his followers the Fianna, form the Fenian Cycle (an Fhiannaíocht), much of it narrated in the voice of Fionn’s son, the poet Oisín.

    3. Hi .. I would love to know more about “Fynn”. Origin of name.. more info on Anna … any thing really fascinating . Thank you Nyrelle

  2. If you will ,I would like more picturers of Fynn and the origin of his name.

    Ronald Bell
    St. Charles,Mo 63303

    1. Hi there – the name Fynn (or Finn) can be traced back from two different sources. One is from Finnland and the name literally means : the man from Finnland and the other is indeed from Irish Mythology and refers to Fionn mac Cumhaill (/ˈfɪn məˈkuːl/ fin mə-kool; Irish pronunciation: [ˈfʲin̪ˠ mˠakˠ ˈkuːw̃əlːʲ];[1] Old Irish: Find mac Cumail or Umaill), sometimes transcribed in English as Finn MacCool or Finn MacCoul, was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish mythology, occurring also in the mythologies of Scotland and the Isle of Man. The stories of Fionn and his followers the Fianna, form the Fenian Cycle (an Fhiannaíocht), much of it narrated in the voice of Fionn’s son, the poet Oisín.

  3. Hello Mr God made an impact on my life, some quotes I value to this day and have quoted to others to encourage them. Thankyou for researching and publishing this background to Fynn. That both he and Anna are real deepens the impact and my gratitude. Thankyou.

  4. I feel like I can only express my thoughts properly in a place where only people who read the book will probably see, if at all. This book changed my perspective on practically everything. I read it for the first time 4 years ago, when I was 13, and it’s still the most thought provoking book I have ever read. I don’t believe in God, but it really isn’t the point the book tried to convey, in my eyes. When I read it, I see truths, and they aren’t necessarily that God exists. It’s like after you cried, and your eyes are a bit puffy and sensitive, but your vision is clearer, because the tears washed away whatever dust or blindness you held. It made everything have so much more sense. It made me see things in perspective. It made me think, hours, about how, I, a 13-year-old girl from nowhere, know the answers to a number of endless, endlessy questions. It influenced my personality, and it still does, to this day. I feel like I owe Sydney so much of myself, and I wish I could tell him personally how much I thank him.
    I heard they’re making a movie based on the book. I really hope they do it justice.
    *Sorry for any grammatical mistakes. English is not my first language.

    1. I was your age when my grandma passionately urged me to read this story in 1977. I recently had the urge to read it again so I bought it on Amazon (I don’t know what happened to the one my grandma had). It is an awesome story. My grandma passed in 1979 but her spirit is still with me. I’m rereading the book right now for the first time since 1977. God is love and Anna knew that at her young age. No matter how much we have or do, we are bankrupt without love.

    2. I know this is an old post…but thank you for your wonderful comment. I too am not a believer in the classic sense but still find great meaning in this book. It literally changed my life as well.

    3. I know this is an old post…but thank you for your wonderful comment. I am not a believer in God in the classic sense but still find great meaning in this book. It literally changed my life as well.

    4. Beautifully put Shay. I read Mister God with my Dad when I was about 10, he doesn’t believe in God either and neither do I, but it is a book that I always think of. So nice to read about Fynn (Syd) and has inspired me to find the book again and read again. Not sure why but I started to cry a bit as I read the post above, then reading your comment about puffy eyes and seeing clearly afterwards really struck a chord. Thank you.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks for bothering to find out about the real author; MGTIA and Mr. Lyward’s Answer are two of my favourite books and its nice to know that people exist who care enough to take the time to research all this. So thanks!

  6. Bin sehr emotional, da mir das erste Buch gerade zum Lesen in die Hand gefallen ist.
    Gerne erführe ich mehr über den ‘Autor, Fynn.

    1. I clicked the link to Finchden Manor and started reading the books and articles about the special genius of Mr. Lyward, which include many references to “Sid.” Being a stepparent to a 41-year-old who is still struggling to come to terms with his childhood, I wish I had felt free enough to do for him what Mr. Lyward and his staff did for the boys who came to live with them at Finchden. It made me wonder how influential the Finchden experience was in Fynn’s remembrance and interpretation of his time with Anna. This possibility, in my mind, does not diminish the story at all but reveals even more the love and great heart out of which this true story grew.
      And, in response to someone’s comment about the movie, I truly wonder how anyone can do justice to this story in a time-limited format. I feel slightly nervous that the wonder will be missed and/or dismissed.

      1. Hello Charlotte,
        There is a teaching from another Sydney that may help your stepson.
        Google Sydney Banks and listen to his videos.

  7. Thank you for your writing about Fynn I found Mr God This is Anna at a time in my life when I most needed to, I have given this amazing book to many people along the way, Im now 70 and so pleased to have learned to use smart phones and computer which led me to read more of Fynn

  8. I was booking railway tickets for me and my dad, though I was not able to book my tickets I some how came across this book ‘Mister God, This is Anna’. The title of the book attracted me and here I am reading about Syd the author of the book which I’ve not read yet. The story of your efforts and struggles in search of Syd and Anna filled me with excitement. I’ve always read about people like you who give their life in search of such treasures but reading your entries I realized how it feels to be someone like you. It is like discovering true magic of life. 🙂

  9. Hello and thankyou for allowing people to reply, I am a little more than half way through reading Mister God This Is Anna and yes, I am another one who is enthralled by Fynn and Anna. I would like to see more photos and information on Fynn and Anna if there are some of Anna. Much appreciated. Love Debbie

  10. Thank you so much for this site and the information on this big beautiful man, I always felt from when I first read a copy of ‘Mister God, this is Anna’ belonging to my parents aged around 13 that here was something incredibly precious, not just the vibrant old soul Anna was, but also that Fynn’s listening gentleness shone through the whole book too. I always wondered about who he was and what his story was. This has filled the gaps somewhat for me, and only wish I could have had opportunity to meet him. Those who are strong and gentle for others are often vulnerable and easily wounded themselves – hearing of how love persuaded him to walk and recover made me cry.

  11. Half way through reading the book and finding it fascinating, especially to learn new things and find a lot in common with what I have learnt at The Erasmus Foundation.
    Thank you for your information about Fynn.

  12. This website is lovely. Thanks a lot for your story!
    These books have been part of my childhood and are still part of me today. Thanks Fynn. Thanks Anna.

  13. I start this comment with a confession. When I first encountered MGTIA I firmly believed that ‘FYNN’ was a computer program. To me, the book seemed too perfect and too formulistic to have been written by a human being. In particular, the death of Anna reminded me too much of the death of Jenny in Eric Seigel’s ‘Love Story.’ Anna had to die, she could not be allowed to grow up and be tainted by the ‘World.’

    Well. now I concede that the book was written by a human being, and a most remarkable one. When I first encountered it I thought it was a load of sentimental twaddle and my opinion of it has not changed. What has changed is that I believe the events in it actually took place, and if the book has been a comfort to anyone, then fine. But it is not for me.
    Philip Brown from the laptop that knows no fear.

  14. Hello. I believe I sent you an email a few months ago but you haven’t replied yet.. I don’t mean to bother you, but if it’s possible I’d like to hear maybe a few stories you have about him, or see a few photos. It’s just that his books have influenced me in so many ways and I want to know more about him.
    Please reply, even if to say that you’re not able to do so.
    Thank you and have a nice day.

  15. Is the any way of knowing where in Somerset lies the grave of Sydney George Hopkins.
    Part of my ‘faith’ journey was reading MGTIA and would very much like to visit the church where he is buried, as I reside in Somerset.
    Thank you.

    1. Dear Dave
      I Googled “Syd Hopkins Fynn buried Somerset” and found this web page which claims that the village where Syd is buried is Broomfield in Somerset. The same website states that it’s also where Joe Strummer of The Clash used to live. No idea if either of these claims is true, but hopefully it gives you a reasonable starting point

  16. Thank you so much for publishing this website. Mr God, this is Anna is one of my absolute favourite books, and it has meant so much to me. I bought my copy in a second hand book store in Adelaide in 1989. It has warmed my heart, touched my soul, and made me cry (in a good way) so many times. I must have read this book more than a dozen times. I consider Fynn and Anna soul friends, and although I never met them in person, it felt like I truly met them during this life time. It warmed my heart to see the photos on this website. Thank you again for sharing. Blessings to you all.

  17. I first read “Mister God, This Is Anna” , 40 years ago as a teenager. It greatly impacted me then, but I realize now that I simply did not have eyes to see at that time, nor did I have the capacity to grasp its depth. I am reading it now, and am astounded. Mister God has prepared me in recent years; and molded me, so that now I can read this beautiful book and everything in me shouts “yes!”

  18. Love this book, have just bought three copies to give to my children this christmas. I was wondering, if the book ‘Mr God this is Anna’ is a true story and if so, where is Anna buried.

  19. I have had read Mr. God This is Anna many times – my favorite book. Where is Anna buried? I did not see an answer to that question.
    Quote from above: Thanks you so much for this site.

  20. Thank you so much for all your research and this site. Since I first read MGTIA as a kid, I hoped it was a real story, and appreciate learning so much more. I wish I could have met Fynn. God bless you all.

  21. Hi,
    I have read Mr. God this is Anna in 1977 and have passed it on and recommended it to many people.
    It is my favourite book and I am reading it over and over again. Every time I understand a little more.
    My tears flow freely when I read and little bits of truth reveal themselves every time.
    To fully understand Annas teachings may not be achievable in a lifetime, but it is a blessing to have this material available to us.
    People are always looking for a hero and I understand fully why Fynn did want to stay in the background.
    Anna has left us with something that is pure with no one to follow and worship.
    She is showing us how all wisdom is inside us. The truth is never what we learn second hand. The truth is deep inside every one of us and as Anna so simply puts it. God is in our middle and he shows himself in everything.
    It has taken me decades to understand just that………..

  22. Anna’s life was so short, but I think she lived all the life that she needed to live. Her soul understood God and love. How fortunate we are that she and Fynn were friends and that he could hear what she had to say. The beauty of their friendship touches me so very deeply. I am speechless to express the beauty that I feel in these books

  23. I read this back in the 1970’s and absolutely loved it. I have loaned my copy to many friends over the years, and this month I nominated it for our book club. There is so much love and truth and insight that I just want as many people as possible to read it! I always wondered if it really was true, so was so pleased to read this article and find out that Fynn was a real person and that Anna was too. I think they must have both been very advanced souls, who knew each other before coming to this lifetime. One of my favourite books!

  24. I have just begun reading my first book in German since arriving in Canada from Germany as a 12 year old. So it is, that 58 years later, I come to read “Hallo Mr. Gott, hier spricht Anna”

  25. I was drawn into Anna’s story from her disclosure about the difference between angels and humans, which is in the first paragraph. What a child ! But I’ve often wondered how her early life experiences shape her personality ? We are told she was abandoned and neglected, but she must also have been deeply loved, and nurtured with patience and understanding, or she could not have trusted other adults or expressed herself so fluently. Her previous carer must have been able to encourage her thinking processes. She was not permanently damaged by her early life.
    I fell in love with this little character, and grieved when she died. I have bought the books regularly, and given them to friends, because I feel it is a book that enlightens and entertains in equal measure. Once read never forgotten
    I also wondered a lot about Fynn. He was special too, and I am so glad to come across this website and learn more about him. It was good fortune that put these two remarkable people together. Little Anna could have been look after by any amount of well meaning people who would not have been receptive to the thoughts of a child, and would have imposed the normal codes of behaviour , thawrting and moulding her God given individuality, and losing her in the process . And that would have been our very great loss.
    Through Anna, Fynn has shown us how to allow fresh insight to be expressed. and to appreciate and value it . He has taught me how to interact with children and I am sure he must have been a great inspiration and source of wisdom to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

  26. I read this book for the first time about 15 years ago and loved it with all my heart and this book has had a lasting affect on me. As well as being such a joy to read, it was such a help to me in my growth as a Christian. Shortly after reading this I painted an oil painting based on the part of the book where Fynn meets Anna under the bakers shop window with Anna twirling round the lamp post. I have just finished reading Mr God This is Anna for the 2nd time and was very happy to find this site and to read some background of Syd’s life.

  27. I was given the book by my mother for my 16th birthday in 1976. The book has helped me through many rough times and even now at 55 years old the book still holds as much a spell on me and I seem to learn or see something different each time I read it. Sadly when we moved house from Northampton to Rugby I never found the book it has been missing since 1999. I was able to buy another one and when it arrived I could not help but read it again. After I finished it for a third time my original one was found when my husband and I moved the bookcase out while we were decorating the room and the book had fallen behind it. This made me think about how ‘Anna’ was when giving Fynn an answer. A patient I know through nursing is deeply religious when he came close to death in a road accident leaving him paralysed. I was able to buy a third one (as I cannot bring myself to part with the other two) second hand from a charity shop and I gave it to him. He, like me, loved the story and now he is reading it a third time and he likes to talk about it. He finds he cannot talk about it with those who have never read the book. So it is usually me that ends up chatting and laughing. His family have also read the book. Did Anna really exist? Fynn takes that to his grave but when my time comes I hope in heaven I will meet him and if true the real Anna.

  28. Thank you for giving us more background. I read Mister God this is Anna when I was only 12, now 40 years ago, and it hit me for its truth. Since then I reread it almost every year and always find new treasures. For me its nog just a lovely story but full of examples how we can discover God for ourselves in everything. Like Fynn writes, Anna is that little angel that so now and then hits you on the head to make you think and look differently.

  29. No one mentioned having read “Anna and the Black Knight”. Another wonderful book by Fynn which I immediately re read after finishing it! John Hodge, the Black Knight, was Fynn’s teacher who kept in touch with him when he finished school and who, after coming into contact with Anna, melts from being a sceptical, crusty old batchelor into a human being! Give yourself another treat!

    1. Jill, I agree! I read this book to my father, a retired research chemist for DuPont and a very devout man. He was very taken by it.

      There is also “Anna’s Book” of her own writings. I found it on a clearance rack at Walmart one day and snatched it up immediately!

  30. I too read the book about 2 or three years ago. It did touch me and yes I too was reduced to tears when little Anna died but I was left very puzzled as to whether Anna really existed, I still am. I am also puzzled is the author Catholic or Protestant. There was a comment above about God is in our middle and shows himself in everything. Yes if you look for him in the little things in life. God should be the centre of our lives, he rules us and he moulds our hearts and only if our hearts are open to him. Yes God is love and He created us precisely so that we can as human beings show his love to our neighbours. He made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in him. God wants to be praised, glorified and loved and we should always be asking Him everyday how can we please him and what can we do for him as thanksgiving for the many blessings and graces he has lavished on us.

  31. I found Anna and Mr God in a bookshop attached to a coffee shop where you are allowed to read books whilst supping. At the time I had survived (barely) the brain scrubbing of a very strict bible college and was holding onto sanity by a thread, with only a whisper of my own voice left. As Fynn and Anna spoke, they filled my emaciated inner body with flesh and warmth. I felt my blood pump again in a way only love can do. The question ‘can it really be this good?’ often sat behind my awakening eyes, the familiar nibbling of my bottom lip as I chewed on inner delicacies provided by Fynn, the soul gourmet.
    Fynn, thank you X 10 years later and I am now on my feet with my own voice and a steady stream of love that flows right through my middle. You were to me a fire pit on a cold night as I wandered shivering.. as you once did ;)*
    Nigel thank you for doing this. It’s beautiful and stumbling upon it on a hungry searching kind of a day holds a tiny spark of the excitement you must have felt in finding Fynns grave and subsequent life.

  32. I read Mr God this is Anna during the 70s when wrestling with the idea of God & Jesus. From Anna’s take on life and her belief in love trust and the beauty of life through God, I determined that religion was not for me, that is joining a church with rules to be judged against.
    If there is ‘proof’ in God existing it is demonstrated in Fynns account of Anna; her indominatable trust in God by running away from home & meeting Fynn whom her God delivered; (the ‘right’ person.) He listened and helped her to express God so eloquently.

    And how beautiful this earth is! Each bright day with its fresh air, beautiful trees and the clearest of blue skies as I write this (none too eloquently). We can perhaps appreciate what God is through this special writing from Fynn and his subject Anna. My daughter is Anna with the reddest of hair …..

    I love this book as I take it up and re- read it and soak up its treasure!

  33. I was bought Mister God, This is Anna by my uncle in 1977 for Christmas, when I had just turned 7. I loved the book immediately although I didn’t fully understand it at the time. I just knew it was special.

    Now nearly 40 years later the book is still in my possession, after bringing it from my home in NZ to England at this age of 8. In fact it is the only thing I have from my childhood.

    I remember wondering as a child, who Fynn and Anna was and to now know they existed not only as words on the page but in life just makes the book even more special.


  34. I read “Mr God This is Anna” in 1980 (the Spanish version). I first thought it was only a wonderful poetic tale, but before I finished reading it, I knew it was a true story. There are things that prove themselves by the mere fact of being what they are. Philosophically, one might say that “its essence proves its existence.” For example, it is impossible for you to pretend to be a genius to the world if you no longer it really are. If you live in the sixteenth century and write like Shakespeare … you’re Shakespeare! (Logically, “Shakespeare is the person who wrote the works of Shakespeare.”) It is impossible to invent with fantasy a human soul greater than ourselves. No one can give more than you have. If Anna did not exist, then Anna was part of spirit of Fynn. But then Fynn is a mystic genius of the magnitude of San Francisco or Yogananda, and he uses the character of Anna to hide himself. And this is not seen in the book, where Fynn is defined very well himself: Fynn is really someone like Sid Hopkins… therefore, Anna is Anna. (In contrast, in The Little Prince, for example, it is obviously Saint Exupery who speaks through his character: the little prince is an aspect of the Sant Exupery soul.) Inmediately after reading the book, I felt was facing one of the highest literary works of human spirituality, and that work was necessarily based on real facts. But I had to wait thirty years to reach this site and verify that my intuition was correct. Anna and Fynn are the best! It is our duty to Anna and Fynn are not forgotten. Soon the day will come when this story is understood in all its magnitude. Thanks. Gracias. (Sorry for the grammar.)

  35. I read MGTIA about 20 years ago. I have bought every copy i have ever seen. Found ” The Knight” just the other day and plan to read them both again. Definitely a lufe changing book. I have a bookshop today and reccomend it to everyone. Thanks for this site. It was great to get background on Fynn. He must have been a very special and deep person

  36. I laugh, cry and feel spiritually uplifted every time I read these books. I too always keep spare copies to give away, replenishing stocks whenever I find one.

  37. i share a birthday with Fynn – 26 March. woohoo!!!
    MGTIA is like NO OTHER book. it touches your core.
    what a great writer… little known about him…….until now.

  38. I loved this book when it came in 1974 and I still love it!
    I wanted to buy it for a friend, but the book is not any more for sale – in Swedish!
    But I did find ONE copy of Anna and the Black Knight in Swedish! Halleluja!

  39. Thank you for this website. Just finished this book on a journey from Ankara to Istanbul which was gifted to me by my dear friend Anna… <3 What a wonderful few hours I spent with Anna and Fynn… !

  40. Some books just fall off the bookshelf and demand to be read – MGTIA is one such book. Thought provoking especially in these times of social disorder and mistrust, Fynn ‘s writings make a lot of sense. Thank you for answering the inevitable question of who was this kindly human being. Such people are the true jewels of this earthly existence.

  41. Hi,
    I’d like to know more about Anna. It sounds as if she really existed, but I wasn’t sure she really said what Fynn wrote in his book. Can we somehow confirm?

  42. I am currently leading a women’s study group on Richard Rohr’s “Immortal Diamond” which echoes in “grown-up” language Anna’s core idea of being “full up with oneself” and being able to say “I am.” As a gift to the group, I purchased 9 hardback copies of Anna. The first to arrive, from the UK, is the 11th reprint of May, 1979 with the most wonderful introduction by Vernon Sproxton, who knew Fynn and had seen Anna’s writings and drawings. He refers to the book as a rare Ah! book, which touches “the nerve-centre of the whole being” and can induce “a fundamental change in the reader’s consciousness.” This was my experience in 1977 when I first encountered MGTIA in a library in Emporia, VA. Here was “Truth” which my religious upbringing and parochial education had left me so thirsty for, a truth produced, Sproxton wonderfully describes, by the alchemy between the spirits of Anna and Sydney Hopkins. He quotes Kierkegaard: “Truth is what ennobles.” It cannot be measured on a laboratory bench but in it you can glimpse the Inaccessible. ‘Thrilly’ would be Anna’s word. I re-read it often to regain a breathless sense of wonder about life.

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  45. I rather facetiously mentioned in s comment above that I had never heard of Syd Hopkins. It was of course a lie. He was one of the first people I met when I arrived for an interview at Finchden in 1963 with a view of being hosted there by Mr Lyward. I was reluctant to go before I arrived, liked the place but to some degree resented having to go into what I felt was year another institution ‘because I needed help’. Just as well I did – what was meant to be initially a six month period ended up being a nine year stay. Just as well I did – I was more confused and distressed than I realised. Finchden, quite frankly, unraveled so much and by the time I left what still needed unraveling I had learned how to handle myself.
    Syd played a passing influence on my time there – others were much closer to him than I. I liked him, I think all of us did – he entertained on the piano brilliantly, sometimes became involved in complex but humorous discussion about science, people and his life. He was a funny guy, very bright and witty, very earthy and pithy – had a way of becoming trapped in intense conversations – the kind I would be drawn towards at the time. He was a tonic, as one person described, someone who kept collective engagement moving. He knew he was a centre of attention, he enjoyed it and maintained it on those occasions when he shuffled in his knees from his room in Chiefs side down the passage to the dinning room or beyond into the hall where black and white piano keys beckoned itchy pianistic fingers.

    I realise I begin to write this that it could end up being a very long post, so I will stop now and write something up and post later. It will be an interesting contribution to the life of Syd by fans of his who had and never will meet him – except in the depths of their imagination.

    1. Nick, you don’t have to stop and proper English is not required nor noticed. We all just want to know more about Syd or Fynn as his books moved us. So, if you are still active, please share all you know. Thank you.

  46. Sorry guys – I have just read through my post and there are some glaring errors – thank predictive text. Plus essential words I left out – ‘he avoided intense conversations’ – avoided intense – crucial. More later.

  47. There is so much to say, I’ll just say that a decade and more ago I used to read MGTIA every day and when I had finished it I would just start over, I can’t describe what this book(s) mean(s) to me and I’m so happy this thread is here. Later I discovered BK and later this website but didn’t comment and today I’ve read the Anna’s Book for the first time and for the first time I was reading the original (English). Thank you all so much for contributing information about Fynn, making him real, in a way. Quod erat faciendum.

  48. Hello

    I am a television producer with Edenwood Productions currently doing some research on possible documentaries for the BBC.

    For no reason whatsoever I woke up this morning wanting to make a documentary about Mister God this is Anna, which has always been one of my favourite book, even though I haven’t thought about it for years, and really know nothing about it or the author.

    A brief internet search brought me to your site and the fascinating background information you have found. I’d be so grateful if you could get in touch to discuss this further.

  49. I read mister god this is anna when i was 13 and finding myself …it was in my highschool library…that was 26 yrs ago! I bought a copy and lent it to a friend but it was never returned..that was 13 yrs ago … been looking for a copy since then … though im super glad i found a secondhand copy of the black knight… thank you for this story…im also curious about fynn…so much memories!

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  51. I’ve been studying Christian mystics (Julian of Norwich et al) for many years. .My own tradition as an Anglican priest, is of the contemplative tradition too. Having read, laughed and wept through MGTIA, I can only say that Anna too, was a mystic – a contemplative with a wisdom and knowing that transcends rationality because it’s comes from “the inside, out”. This wisdom doesn’t depend on age, because it’s an inner knowing – Anna was remarkable particularly because she could articulate itso well.Most adults, even contemplatives, don’t come close. These are most gloriously loveable souls, as Fynn discovered early on when Anna said to him “you love me don’t you”. Yes, of course he did, and so do we all who read about her – what else could we possibly do ? Dear Fynn, Dear Anna, thank-you.

  52. I was 25 when I bought MGTIS, two years after it came out. I was very very moved with Fynn’s story of Anna and, as a Montessori preschool teacher of 27 years, I can vouch for it that there are children who think very deeply right from the start. I have not come across one as bright as Anna but then again, maybe her life was meant to make the impact it has through Fynn by being so short and incredible.
    Thank you for having this site, I will regularly check it from now on.
    Bless you and all the Best for 2018.

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  54. I’d found Mr. God this is Anna in 1984. Since then I’ve must read ist over ten times. In german first and several times in english. In this days I read it for my two boys. One of them is named Fynn – You guess why? It is interesting to talk with them about the ideas and views Anna had. And naturally they asked me, if it is a true story. Althogh I never had a doubt about it, I’m glad to read now that I was right. This is a true and a real story. And it is my alltime favorit! Love to all of You!

  55. I have had a copy of MGTIA for years. I bought it from a second hand bookstore (I can’t remember why but I think because someone had once told me it is a must read). I only just finished reading it today and could not put it down! In it are many hidden truths which only a child has eyes to see. The glimpses I caught reminded me of when I was a child and I pondered about my existance. This is indeed a rare gem of a book and written with real meaning and talent. One gets and idea of the truth of God who is so difficult to fathom. I pray that anyone with doubts in believing in God would change their minds. The fact that both characters did exist made me read every post!

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