TLG 15.3 Introduction

Frame of Reference

Introduction - Shaun Tan's world, through his own eyes

David Beagley

Welcome to this special issue of The Looking Glass. Unlike our usual magazine of articles under the various columns, it is dedicated to a single piece - a transcript of a lecture given in November 2011 by much-awarded author and illustrator, Shaun Tan.

In the brief two decades since Shaun published his first illustration, his works have achieved a world-wide audience and status, culminating in an amazing few months in 2011 which saw him accept both the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (the world's richest children's literature award) and the Academy Award for short film (animation). In 2009, in an eclectic response which has become typical for his books, Tales from Outer Suburbia won the Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year award for older readers, the German Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis Bilderbuch award, the Californian Locus Award for non-fiction/art book, the Australian Book Industry Award for illustrated book, and the New South Wales Government's Patricia Wrightson Prize for children's books, as well as picking up an Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award for its artwork.

Shaun's most distinctive voice makes him clearly an outstanding figure in the world of children's, young adult's, and adult, books. He is an illustrator, an author, an animator, a playwright, a theatre designer, and, above all, an artist, who surprises and stimulates his audiences and makes them think.

This lecture, the annual Sir John Quick public lecture, was given at the historic Capital Theatre in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia under the auspices of La Trobe University. We are delighted, with Shaun's permission, to reproduce it here for you. Shaun explains so much about his life and influences, as well as his aims and approaches but, like his books and artwork, leaves you to think and to make your own meanings and ideas from his starting points.

There is plenty to think about here, in Shaun Tan's Lost and Found - thoughts on childhood, identity and story.


David Beagley
General Editor - The Looking Glass

Volume 15, Issue 3, The Looking Glass, January/February 2011

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"Frame of Reference -Introduction - Shaun Tan's world, through his own eyes" © David Beagley, 2011
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