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Tristan Bancks

Author

Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and filmmaking. His books include the My Life series, Mac Slater: Coolhunter (Australia and US) and Two Wolves, a crime-mystery novel for middle-graders. Two Wolves won Honour Book in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. It also won the YABBA and KOALA Children’s Choice Awards and has been released in the US as On the Run (Farrar Straus Giroux).

Tristan’s short films as writer and director have won a number of awards and have screened widely in festivals and on TV. His most recent book is My Life & Other Exploding Chickens, a fourth book of weird-funny-gross, semi-autobiographical short stories. Tristan is excited by the future of storytelling and inspiring others to create.

Where were you born?

In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. I was an ambitious, energetic kid. I loved stories, playing sport and being master of my own destiny. I was always starting a lawnmowing business, writing a book, putting on a play, running a dance party or making dodgy horror movies with my friends.

What other jobs have you had?

My main aims in life have been to do work that I love and to continue telling stories. I’ve acted in TV and film, presented TV in the UK, made short films, written for magazines and newspapers. My only taste of a real job was flipping a burger once on McHappy Day. It landed on the floor.

What themes are recurring in your work?

The search for identity: who am I and what do I care about? Following your bliss, doing the thing you love no matter the obstacles. Breaking through fear and self-doubt. Money and power – how much you need and what you’re willing to compromise to get them. I seem to write ‘Action-Adventure’ and ‘Weird-Funny-Gross’.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Going to the movies with the Queen. Travelling to New York for the release of the Mac Slater books. Seeing kids inspired to pick up a book after a talk or workshop. Heading to France with Soar, a short film I directed, and seeing it win awards. Discovering that I can spend my life writing books and speaking about them – best thing ever.

Where have your works been published?

Australia and the US.

What are you passionate about?

Sharing my love of books and good stories. Inspiring others, especially children, to create and to dare to make mistakes. Social action. Living mindfully.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Possibly. But, if you have, you should keep it under your hat. My first job was in TV show Home And Away playing a young tearaway with a heart of gold. My character crashed cars, leapt off tall cliffs into the ocean, had many a fight, kissed Toni Pearen (his teacher!), had his head flushed by Les Hill and, generally, made Summer Bay a less pleasant holiday destination. I spent four years in the UK after that, hosting children’s TV and Travel shows and learning about production. I white-water-rafted and snowboarded and trained with the London Fire Department and visited lots of interesting places. Since returning to Australia I have been in a couple of Ivan Sen’s movies and I’ve done a degree while writing books, making films and speaking about literacy and creativity.

Check out the trailer for Tristan’s latest book, My Life & Other Exploding Chickens!

Testimonials

I thought Tristan was fantastic.

If I was a kid I would want to read all of his books. He really appealed to kids in a contemporary manner, talking about electronic devices and how he uses them to help his writing.

I thought that his idea of writing and taking pictures outdoors to develop character and setting could be easily transferred to the our writing lessons.

—A. Barnett, Teacher Librarian, Mentone Grammar, July 2016

Tristan is really cool with the kids – they identify with him immediately, in his jeans and sneakers and T-shirt, and familiar use of technology. Personally, I think the day was not about selling books but more about enthusing kids to take an interest in reading and writing. He did just that!

—S. Scott, Oatlands Community Library, March 2014

Tristan was very good and we received excellent feedback from the students and staff.

—R. Aumann, Catholic College Wodonga, August 2012

Thank you so much for recommending Tristan Bancks for our author visit, this year. He quickly established a rapport with the students and seems to have achieved rock star status at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar school, within a very short time!
Immediately after his visit, many boys purchased his books online, multiple reservations were placed on all his books (that hadn’t been processed yet!), and students are still requesting that we read his books and access his website.
Aside from motivating the boys to read, he has incited them to want to write. One class has since implemented an ‘anything goes book’-to jot story ideas throughout the day and many boys have downloaded his storybook app.

We were genuinely impressed by his passion for children’s literature and his accessibility to the students. One student summed it up perfectly when he said, ‘Tristan inspires me.’

—F. Eames, Teacher Librarian, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, August 2012

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