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Illustrator of the future – great youth writer

Shaun Tan

Illustrator of the future – not to mention great young persons’ writer

Acclaimed author-illustrator Shaun Tan is an exciting new addition to the New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week.

Over the last decade, Tan has produced genre-breaking and multiple prize-winning picture books. His books have quickly become cult favourites with children, teenagers and adults alike, internationally confirming the picture book’s new status as a sophisticated form for all ages.

Named International Illustrator of the Future in 1992, Shaun Tan has built a formidable reputation as the star of progressive picture books. As an illustrator he has won multiple awards. He is especially known for his extraordinary work in The Rabbits (1998), a powerful fable about colonisation written by John Marsden and studied throughout Australasian schools.

As writer and illustrator of his recent books The Lost Thing (1999) and The Red Tree (2001) he draws upon subject matter as unusual – especially in the picture book worlds – as art history and depression, and his illustrations are rich with reference to art, science and mathematics.

Tan will appear for an hour-long discussion of his work, including readings, on 17 March at 3.45pm. He will also undertake sessions with primary and secondary school students while he is in New Zealand.

New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week takes place in the third week of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, from 14-19 March 2006. The event will host seventeen international writers, along with some of New Zealand’s finest wordsmiths, in a week-long presentation of readings, conversation and discussion focused on literature.

Tickets for the Gala Opening (14 March, 8pm) and Flashpoint sessions with evolutionary biologist Armand Marie Leroi and historian Ronald Wright (16, 17 March 6pm) are currently on sale as are Concession Passes. These entitle purchasers to obtain preferential discounted tickets to 15 individual writer and panel sessions, including Shaun Tan, out of the more than 25 individual and panel sessions offered in Writers Upfront (15-19 March). Individual session tickets will be available from 7 February.

Appearance details
The Illustrative Mind: Shaun Tan, Fri 17 Mar, 3.45pm-4.45pm, Embassy Theatre
Shaun Tan reading and in conversation with Kate De Goldi

Schools’ Day: Fiction, Tue 14 Mar, 9.50am-10.40am, Embassy Theatre
Shaun Tan speaks with Kate De Goldi in front of a secondary schools’ audience as part of the Festival’s SchoolFest programme.

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and 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 full time as a freelance artist and author, concentrating mostly on writing and illustrating picture books.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since then he has received numerous awards for his picture books, including the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Picture Book of the Year Award for The Rabbits with John Marsden. In 2001 Shaun was named Best Artist at the World Fantasy Awards in Montreal. He has recently worked for Blue Sky Studios and Pixar, providing concept artwork for forthcoming films.

Shaun is currently working with a London-based film producer on a short animated adaptation of The Lost Thing a book which won an Honourable Mention at the Bologna International Book Fair. The Red Tree recently won the Patricia Wrightson prize in the NSW Premier’s Book Awards, has been translated into several languages, and was awarded the 'le Prix Octogones 2003’ prize by the Centre International d'Etudes en Litterature de Jeunesse in France.



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