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Image courtesy Reading Australia
Shaun Tan Shaun Tan i(A41443 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 lives and works in Melbourne (as at 2017).

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.

Some of his earliest works appeared in science fiction magazines (including Eidolon and Interzone) where he illustrated the work of authors such as Greg EganKaren AttardSean Williams, and Leanne Frahm.

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.

His work has won or been nominated for nearly 100 awards, as at November 2017. His international awards include Locus Awards, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Hugo Awards, and a World Fantasy Award. In Australia, his work has repeatedly won Ditmar and Aurealis Awards, as well as Premier's Awards across the country, multiple Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, and more.

Source: Inc. author's website.

Most Referenced Works

Notes

  • Tan illustrated works by overseas writers including The Wrong Grave (2009) a book of short stories for young adults by American writer Kelly Link.
  • Tan's cover illustrations also include: The Dark Lord of Geeragh (1999), Mitch?: Tarts of the New Milennium (2001).
  • Voted number 38 in the Booktopia Top 50 Favourite Australian Authors for 2018

Personal Awards

2018 finalist International Awards Locus Awards Artist
2016 shortlisted Ditmar Awards Best Artwork For the illustrations to The Singing Bones.
2013 shortlisted International Awards Locus Awards Artist

Awards for Works

Tales from the Inner City 2018 selected work short story

'Where can we live if not in each other's shadow? World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict—of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse. Tales from the Inner City is a masterful work, bearing all of Shaun Tan's trademark wit and poignancy in both its prose and exquisite illustrations.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 shortlisted Indie Awards Children's
Tales from the Inner City 2018 selected work short story

'Where can we live if not in each other's shadow? World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict—of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse. Tales from the Inner City is a masterful work, bearing all of Shaun Tan's trademark wit and poignancy in both its prose and exquisite illustrations.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 shortlisted Indie Awards Children's
Cicada 2018 single work picture book children's fantasy

'Cicada work in tall building.

'Data entry clerk. Seventeen year.

'No sick day. No mistake.

'Tok Tok Tok!

'Cicada works in an office, dutifully toiling day after day for unappreciative bosses and being bullied by his coworkers. But one day, Cicada goes to the roof of the building, and something truly extraordinary happens ...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 longlisted Indie Awards Children's
Last amended 1 May 2018 07:58:39
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