Shaun Tan’s award lecture

Tuesday evening, the auditorium at Kulturhuset in Stockholm was filled to the last seat with an enthusiastic audience listening to Shaun Tan’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award lecture. Katti Hoflin welcomed the audience and Kennet Johansson, Director General of the Swedish Arts Council, welcomed Shaun Tan on stage.

Shaun Tan spoke about his work, his inspiration and his thoughts on stories and art. Below is an excerpt where Shaun Tan speaks about how great art asks well crafted questions rather than delivers answers:

“A good creative idea is little more than a hunch, an intuition that something meaningful is out there, over in the darkness beyond the houses, trees and power-lines. It can’t be spoken of directly: explanation or advice won’t work here. For an idea to really weave itself into the fabric of your memory, it must be experienced first-hand: you have to find your own resolution. This is what good literature offers the reader, and especially the young reader, encountering so much of this world for the first time, and children will happily respond to anything that respects their own insight, without telling them what to think.

The surrealism of my stories and pictures is partly a confession of ignorance, an acknowledgement that life is weird and mostly undiscovered. It’s okay to be uncertain, puzzled and not have all the answers.”

After the lecture, as Shaun Tan exited the auditorium, a very long line of readers were waiting to have their books signed. In the foyer, artist Tor Svae had made an installation inspired by Shaun Tan’s book The Arrival and his animated film The Lost Thing was screened.

For anyone who missed the event, the complete lecture will be broadcasted by UR Samtiden on 30th of May at 17.30. It will also be available on demand here.

All photos by Stefan Tell

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One Response to “Shaun Tan’s award lecture”

  1. asaelisabeths Says:

    Beautiful 😀

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