#DecolonizeReading2023 Adult Books Conferences and Events Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Nonfiction Reading Themes Young Adult (YA) Literature

[Monday Reading] Celebrating Shaun Tan

Join us in our conversation with Shaun Tan on Wednesday, March 08, 10:20 AM UAE time.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). It has been awhile since I joined this reading community and I intend to be more present this year, life circumstances permitting.

Similar to last year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
  5. Translated or international literature

A month ago, I shared information about our month-long reading festival which we launched during the first of March last week and is being held under the patronage of His Excellency Chancellor of UAE University Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh.

We are over the moon that we have the unparalleled Shaun Tan joining us virtually for a hybrid event to be held at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Dubai (which I featured here, because it is such a gorgeous space).

It is my pleasure to invite everyone to attend our conversation with Shaun Tan as he does a brief presentation on “Creatures Make Us Humans” after we do a film screening of his Oscar-winning The Lost Thing to those who will be joining us face-to-face in Dubai. If you plan to join us virtually, you can register here. Needless to say, we are super excited about this.

Shaun was also very gracious enough to share with us his cover art for the book I am featuring today, and which we have gratefully used for our publicity materials for the reading festival.

Creature: Paintings Drawing And Reflections (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Shaun Tan
Published by Levine Querido (2022)
ISBN: 9781646142002 (ISBN10: 1646142004) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I must have devoured this book in less than a week. The minute I received my copy, I started flipping through the pages and was not able to stop. For those who may not be aware, we at GatheringBooks have featured practically all of Shaun’s books that we could get our hands on. There is unapologetic complexity in his art: exuberance tinged with foreboding, joy interlaced with melancholia, the surreal intermingled with the ordinary and the commonplace, the absurd interspersed with what Shaun calls “unconstrained meaning.”

I love the erudite way Shaun conveys his musings behind each piece of art, notwithstanding his occasional frustration about being asked constantly about the ‘meaning’ or ‘significance’ behind each visual metaphor, as he values more the emotion evoked by his art rather than untangle or unpack the logic behind his illustrations.

The section above is what I have shared most often from this collection with fellow academics and doctoral students and friends – as the rationale behind why I am such a huge fan of Shaun: just this genuine, raw, untouched profundity that is wide-eyed in all its tentative explorations and joyful feeling-through of the unfamiliar, the discordant, the ineffable.

I truly look forward to having you all join us on Wednesday!

#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 14 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “[Monday Reading] Celebrating Shaun Tan

  1. I love Shaun Tan’s books! Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover of Creature is amazing! Such talent!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie

    Somehow I missed this book, Myra, will certainly look for it. I love the words you shared by Tan, “In that sense we are all mutually strange.” Wonderful to ponder! I cannot make it Wednesday but wish you all a great time with your special visitor!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vidya Tiru

    Oh.. I have read his The Bird King and enjoyed it… it has stayed in my memory since I read it years ago. I somehow never went looking for his books later (well, too many other books distracted my mind…) Now that I know, I will look for and read the others soon – Creature looks stunning!
    And I have registered for the event virtually.. Hopefully, I will be able to join in for a while at least (we are 12 hours behind Dubai here in the Bay Area)…
    My IMWAYR post is here

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Unexpectedly Perfect Read-Alouds from Italy and Australia – Gathering Books

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