5 Minutes with Shaun Tan

5 Minutes with Shaun Tan

I started writing because…

I like stories. Who doesn’t? The real question is why didn’t I stop writing, or stop drawing for that matter. Basically, I found a way to keep doing it and still pay the rent: make books that people can buy!

The best part of writing Cicada was…

Cutting it back. It was originally a much longer, overwrought story about workplace bullying, but by reducing to the voice of a simple insect, it became much more open to interpretation.

Cicada was inspired by…

I once saw a single flowering plant in the window of a huge, sterile-looking office block in Berlin. For some reason I imagined a bug working there among humans, and continued to think about this idea on and off for the next ten years. Along the way I became interested in the 17-year life cycle of certain cicadas, and also enjoyed watching office-based sitcoms. These three unlikely influences seemed to naturally fold into each other.

When I’m not writing I…

I’m probably painting!

My favourite place to curl up with a book is…

With my wife and daughter (4). Interestingly, this family time also counts as research, since almost all of the books are, naturally, picture books. I’ll be examining the imprint page, layout and production choices once everyone else has dropped off.

Purchase a copy of Cicada | Read our review of Cicada

Shaun Tan grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the ‘good drawer’ which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works as an artist and author in Melbourne.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. The RabbitsThe Red TreeTales from Outer SuburbiaRules of Summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for animated films including Pixar’s WALL-E, and directed the Academy Award-winning short film The Lost Thing with Passion Pictures Australia. In 2011 he received the presitgious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honouring his contribution to international children’s literature.

Related Articles

Remarkable Friendships: Better Reading on the Special Friendships Our Favourite Characters Shared

News | Book Life

15 January 2020

Remarkable Friendships: Better Reading on the Special Friendships Our Favourite Characters Shared

The Journey of a Harry Potter Fan

News | Book Life

16 December 2019

The Journey of a Harry Potter Fan

My Year of Reading Children's Books

News | Book Life

15 December 2019

My Year of Reading Children's Books

A New Year’s Resolution For Parents

News | Book Life

15 December 2019

A New Year’s Resolution For Parents

Great Books About Girls: Recommended by Zoe Norton Lodge

News | Author Related

5 December 2019

Great Books About Girls: Recommended by Zoe Norton Lodge

Favourite Fictional Pets

Kids & Ya

8 August 2019

Favourite Fictional Pets

Celebrate The Great Outdoors: Five Books for Nature Lovers

Kids & Ya

11 July 2019

Celebrate The Great Outdoors: Five Books for Nature Lovers

Friends, Loyalty and Family: Extract from The Good Thieves

Kids & Ya

9 July 2019

Friends, Loyalty and Family: Extract from The Good Thieves

Explosive, Inexplicable Weirdness: Review of Squidge Dibley Destroys the School by Mick Elliott

Kids & Ya

25 June 2019

Explosive, Inexplicable Weirdness: Review of Squidge Dibley Destroys the School by Mick Elliott

A Very Strange Class: Read an extract from Squidge Dibley Destroys the School by Mick Elliott

Kids & Ya

25 June 2019

A Very Strange Class: Read an extract from Squidge Dibley Destroys the School by Mick Elliott

Shaun Tan
About the author

Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan's award-winning books include the highly acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival, The Lost Thing, The Red Tree, The Rabbits and Tales from Outer Suburbia.In 2011, Shaun won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, shared an Academy Award for his work on the animated short film version of his book The Lost Thing, and was presented with the Dromkeen Medal for services to children s literature in Australia.Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E and as an animator on the Academy Award-winning short film adapted from his book The Lost Thing.His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and have won many prizes both in Australia and internationally.

Books by Shaun Tan

COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *