Strange migrations: an essay/interview with Shaun Tan

EARLE, Harriet (2016). Strange migrations: an essay/interview with Shaun Tan. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 52 (4), 385-398.

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/17449855.2016.1219139


This piece by Shaun Tan was originally written as a keynote address to the 33rd International Board on Books for Young People Congress, held in London in August 2012. The version presented here has been edited, with additional questions, by Harriet Earle. For Tan, the comics form offers the freedom and space to discuss issues of identity creation and the role of narrative in this process. As a child of mixed nationality parents, the question of how cultural and national mores have shaped his personal identity looms large in Tan’s work. He asks, “Where is the ‘train station’ through which all these cultural railways pass?” and, although no definite answer is necessarily forthcoming, uses the comics form to begin to respond to his own question. Alongside these issues of cultural migration, Tan considers the classification of his work and how the label of “children’s literature” both affects the reception and offers new freedoms. Beginning with his origins in Western Australia and the impact of his parents’ mixed ethnicities on his formative years, Tan charts his personal and artistic development and offers new insight into what comics and graphic narratives can tell us about migration, multiculturalism and curiosity.

Item Type: Article
Departments: Development and Society > Humanities
Identification Number: 10.1080/17449855.2016.1219139
Depositing User: Harriet Earle
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2017 16:47
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 23:01

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