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Shaun Tan wins the world’s richest children’s literature prize

Congratulations from us to Trish’s favourite Aussie author-illustrator Shaun Tan who has won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award this year – which is proving to be a very successful one; Shaun Tan also he won the Oscar for best animated short film for The Lost Thing, based on his book of the same name. It is a 15-minute fable about a Melbourne boy who encounters an exotic creature above a laundromat and is narrated by Tim Minchin.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is named for the Swedish author who gave us one of my favourite childhood characters, Pippi Longstocking.

After her death in 2002 the award was established by the Swedish government to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. The award is presented to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion work and may be presented to a single recipient or to several, regardless of language or nationality. It is the world’s richest children’s literature prize with 5 million Krona (AUD$765,500).

The jury’s citation reads: “Shaun Tan is a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books. His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone, regardless of age. Behind a wealth of minutely detailed pictures, where civilization is criticized and history depicted through symbolism, there is a palpable warmth. People are always present, and Shaun Tan portrays both our searching and our alienation. He combines brilliant, magical narrative skill with deep humanism.”

Tan has written and/or illustrated more than 20 books including The Rabbits (written by John Marsden), The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia, which was hailed in the Guardian as possibly “the most beautiful book you’ll see all year”.

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