Image courtesy Reading Australia
Shaun Tan i(118 works by) (a.k.a. Tan)
Born: Established: ca. 1974 Fremantle, Fremantle area, South West Perth, Perth, Western Australia, ;
Gender: Male
Heritage: Malaysian Chinese
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BiographyHistory

Shaun Tan, the son of a Malaysian-Chinese father and an Anglo-Irish mother, is a multi-award winning artist and writer who currently lives and works in Melbourne [2007]. As a child growing up in Perth, Shaun enjoyed reading, writing and illustrating poems and stories; and spent a lot of time drawing dinosaurs, robots and space ships.He was impressed by a book of horror poems called The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight, written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated 'in these creepy but also amusing pen and ink drawings by Arnold Lobel. I can still recall the images quite vividly, and borrowed that book many times from the library.' He was attracted by anything about monsters, outer space or robots. Tan also remembers Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick which he still admires as an adult as an ideal picture book experiment - a whole series of fragmentary sentences and singular strange drawings never fully explained. He also liked Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs, but only discovered many of his other books (and acknowledges their influence) as an adult. Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl were also 'favourites'.

As a teenager Tan was mostly influenced by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, which seemed to him like strange dreams or adult fairy tales. Visually, Tan was probably influenced more by movies and television; the first Star Wars films, for example, are remembered for their designs much more than for the storyline. He participated in a special art program at secondary school but since then he has undertaken to teach himself the art of book illustration. In 1992 he won the International Illustrators of the Future Contest, the first Australian to achieve this award. He has been illustrating young adult fiction and picture books since 1996. At the University of WA he completed an honours degree in English literature and art history, theory and criticism. In 2002, Tan painted a much commended mural titled The Tea Party in the children's section of the Subiaco Library. Typical of his style, it portrays a surreal landscape with strange objects and a character who features in The Red Tree. More recently, the Subiaco library has commissioned a new mural, called The Hundred Year Picnic, now on display.

Notes

Awards for Works

The Rules of Summer 2013 single work picture book children's fantasy 'Combining humour and surreal fantasy, Shaun Tan pictures a summer in the lives of two boys. Each spread tells of an event and the lesson learned. By turns, these events become darker and more sinister as the boys push their games further and further.' (Publisher's blurb)
2015 nominated International Awards Kate Greenaway Medal
2014 winner Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards Picture Book of the Year
2014 shortlisted Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Australian Book of the Year for Younger Children
2014 winner Ditmar Awards Best Artwork
2014 winner APA Book Design Awards Best Designed Children’s Illustrated Book
2014 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Children's Fiction
2014 shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards Children's Book Award
2013 shortlisted Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction Children's Division
The Rules of Summer 2013 single work picture book children's fantasy 'Combining humour and surreal fantasy, Shaun Tan pictures a summer in the lives of two boys. Each spread tells of an event and the lesson learned. By turns, these events become darker and more sinister as the boys push their games further and further.' (Publisher's blurb)
2015 nominated International Awards Kate Greenaway Medal
2014 winner Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards Picture Book of the Year
2014 shortlisted Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Australian Book of the Year for Younger Children
2014 winner Ditmar Awards Best Artwork
2014 winner APA Book Design Awards Best Designed Children’s Illustrated Book
2014 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Children's Fiction
2014 shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards Children's Book Award
2013 shortlisted Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction Children's Division
Lost and Found 2011 selected work picture book These three short stories focus on loss and despair to explore how we lose and find what matters most to us: a girl finds a bright spot in a dark world, a boy leads a strange, lost being home, and a group of peaceful creatures loses its home to cruel invaders.
2012 listed International Awards USBBY Outstanding International Books List
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