Friday, September 7, 2007


Last night The Great Gatsby was launched at Readings bookstore in Carlton (Melbourne). It was a gorgeous, very exciting and emotionally overwhelming event! The store was packed to the rafters with lovely people, and we all had the privilege of hearing Shaun Tan speak, as he launched the book out into the world.

Here are some photos, taken by my dad, George Greenberg. That's Shaun launching, and Erica Wagner (publisher extraordinaire) and me in an emotional moment. Plus some little shots of the lovely big crowd.

As well as being an unparalleled artist and extraordinary storyteller, Shaun Tan is a great speaker. He shared some important insights into how graphic storytelling works, and explored the sometimes troubled role of illustration. He also astonished me with his very detailed (and generous) discussion of my Gatsby characters. Shaun and I had not talked in depth about these interpretations before, and yet he was able to stand up and explain precisely how their expressions work - the set of Daisy's mouth, the uneven size of Nick's eyes - and so many other observations. I was astonished because although I have drawn these characters hundreds of times and know exactly how I want their faces to behave, I have never actually put these thoughts or intentions into words, even in my own head. It was as if Shaun had crept inside my brain (somehow managing not to trip over all the mess!), taken a snapshot of what was going on in there, and then articulated it in words. He's amazing. It was an absolute honour to have him launch the book.

Shaun was introduced by my wonderful publisher at Allen & Unwin, Erica Wagner. Erica's passionate belief in the possibilities of the graphic novel form is just inspiring, and I am grateful to her beyond words for putting that passion into my book, and bringing it into publication. Erica talked about the buzz of excitement around graphic novels - a buzz that is only getting louder here in Australia. The growing interest in this literary art form owes a great deal to Shaun's prizewinning book The Arrival, but also to Erica's years of sharing her enthusiasm for the form, and helping to bring it into the public consciousness. May it, and A&U, go from strength to strength!

I wish I could have said all these things last night, but of course the emotion got the better of me, and it was all I could do to get out some heartfelt thanks. It was a wonderful evening, a lovely celebration, and I'm so thrilled to have been able to share it with so many dear friends.

Not surprisingly, sleep has been impossible! Thanks so much to everyone who came along, and to those who couldn't make it but sent such warm wishes.


Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

congratulations on what looks to have been a great evening.
and the adulation, well deserved.
wish i could have been there...sigh.

scootergrrl said...

Congrats again Nicki!

It certainly was a great evening!

d. said...

looked like a fun night. i've seen the work you've put in to it over the years and a moment like that must be wonderful. the book looks great.

my congratulations,


spacedlaw said...

Congratulations !