i met shaun tan!

Oh my goodness, I got to meet Shaun Tan! I only got the invitation that morning, and I dived into the packed, sweaty Illustration Cupboard to see one of my picture book heroes. Hooray! And he is so, so lovely. I wish I could take him away and spend a whole day making comics with him. Dang, ’cause so does everyone else.

He drew in a couple of my books and I gave him one of my comics and we talked for a bit, but I was painfully aware that he’d been on the tour circuit for awhile and had probably had similar conversations with thousands of people. But he still managed that thing where, when he talks to you, you feel like you’re the only person in the room. Really nice guy. My review of the event will appear soon on the Write Away website. He’s just launched a gorgeous book called Tales from Outer Suburbia and you can read my review of his book The Arrival here.

Shirley Hughes came along, she’s great for getting out to lots of these kinds of events:

I was very glad to see Viviane Schwarz and Alexis Deacon walk in. Here they are, and Alexis’s rather weird toe shoes:

I didn’t get the greatest photos last night because I was very shy about shoving a flash into people’s faces. (Sorry about the closed eyes shot, Viv!)

I also talked with the amazing writer and illustrator Helen Ward (who wrote Varmints). She had a bad injury to her hand, when her dog got in an accident; she ran to help him and the dog was so terrified he bit through one of her fingers and she almost lost it. Fortunately it was her left hand, not her drawing hand, and she’s had lots of surgery and reconstruction, but it all sounded pretty scary. And her dog died, boo. 🙁 Hand injuries are so scary in this job. My hand got car-doored a few months ago when I was on my bike and I was fine, but it freaked me out very badly.

Here’s someone I thought was Tony Ross, but I’m thinking maybe I confused him with someone else. Help, who is the guy on the left? Anyway, he’s perching on the stairway next to Tony West and John Bittles, from the Lion & Unicorn bookshop.

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