interview/article with Shaun Tan in the Australian.
Suburban dreaming -May 24, 2008
THERE is so much twittering and cheeping at the other end of the phone line, I assume Shaun Tan is talking near an open window or in his garden in suburban Melbourne. In fact, the insistent bird calls are coming from inside Tan's house, where the writer-illustrator's Brazilian parrot, Diego, and white budgie, Snowball, have the run of the place. They're free to fly about, and retire intermittently to their playground, an assembly of mirrors and bells on top of a wardrobe.
The Arrival, an international bestseller and literary prize magnet, was a graphic novel that did not contain a single word.
It caused a stir when it won book of the year -- becoming the first graphic novel to do so -- in last year's NSW Premier's Literary Awards. It provoked consternation when Tan was asked to give a reading at the Sydney Writers Festival. Tan notes that France has taken to his entirely visual narrative with far less ambivalence: TheArrival has sold more than 40,000 copies there and hasn't been narrowly defined as a children's book.
Among the slew of awards and accolades it attracted, The Arrival was named 2007 picture book of the year by the Children's Book Council of Australia, and one of 2007's top 10 illustrated children's books by The New York Times. Tan was also named best artist at last year's World Fantasy Awards in New York.
(link thanks to mick Evans)