Zana Fraillon is based in Nillumbik and is an internationally acclaimed multi-award winning author of books for children and young adults. Her most recent books include The Ones That Disappeared, Wisp, and The Bone Sparrow.
Zana is one of our featured local writers as part of the 11th Annual Booklovers Festival. To find out more about the festival view the program here. Zana is also appearing on the panel 'Inside the Writers Group' as part of Booklovers Festival at Eltham Library
How do you describe your creative practice?
A roller-coaster of emotions! When the writing is going well, it is the best feeling in the world. When it is going badly, it is an onslaught of negative, self-doubting emotions and internal angst...
When did you start writing? What inspired you?
When my first child was born, I stopped my work in schools to be a full time mum. I had always written stories - for school, for uni, for my younger sister - and so it was natural for me to continue to write stories for my own kids. I wrote a picture book for my son based on a walk we had been on to the Collingwood Children's Farm. A friend saw my son reading it and encouraged me to send it in to a publisher. This became my first published picture book - When No One's Looking: At The Farm.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have two picture books I am working on at the moment, as well as a fiction book for older readers. I am also exploring some short story ideas set in Melbourne as well. I love working on multiple projects because it means when I get stuck on one, I can move my thinking across to the other. Usually this is enough to un-stick my thinking. It also means that when I am waiting on feedback from publishers or my agent, I have something else to distract myself with. The waiting is the worst...
Do you have a studio or work space? What is it like?
I have a studio space at the back of my garden. It is the most wonderful place to work. It is quiet and peaceful and surrounded by nature. Every morning, I head up there with a cup of tea and my dogs and settle into the work.
Does anyone or anything influence your practice?
Everyone and everything! Podcasts, radio interviews, books, newspaper articles, graffiti, conversations, photos, and most of all, other authors - it all inspires me. One of the most exciting things about being a writer is being able to look for ideas everywhere. I can be watching TV and pretend that I am working - and I am! Writing is a little bit like being paid to daydream. I love having the smallest, tiniest seed of an idea and just seeing where it will take me. Anything could happen.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Read a lot and write a lot. Imagine a lot. Look at the world through fresh eyes. When you see a locked door, imagine where it could take you, what could be hidden behind it, who could be watching from its peep hole...allow yourself to go on adventures in your mind. And write as though no one will ever read it. Be true to yourself and your writing - worry about audience later.
Do you have favourite author or book?
I have so many favourite authors and books! I love Siobhan Dowd. Terry Pratchett is another firm favourite. I also love David Almond, Melvin Burgess, Penni Russon, Margo Lanagan, Fredrik Bakman, Roddy Doyle, Kate Mildenhall, Susin Neilsen, Dan Rhodes, Louis De Bernieres, Khaled Hosseini, John Irving, Glenda Millard and Lucy Wood...there are many more but I'll stop there.
Do you visit your local library? If yes, what do you love about libraries?
All the time. I love libraries. I love the smell of libraries. I love the excitement of being surrounded by so many potential new worlds and experiences to explore and dive into. I love how time stops in a library. I love how warm and comfortable and calm libraries are. I love the sense of diversity and community. I love the programs offered and the knowledge that this space belongs to all of us.
For more on Zana visit:
Zana's books in our collection:
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