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Open Right

Zana Fraillon

Author, Education Consultant

Zana Fraillon is the author of picture books and novels for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Bone Sparrow, has been shortlisted and nominated for national and international awards including The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and the Carnegie Award.

Zana spent many years in primary schools as an integration aide and as a teacher, and strongly believes in the importance of teaching kids how to fully unleash their imaginations.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne, but when I was two, my family moved to America where I spent the next 5 years. It wasn’t until I returned back to Australia aged 7, that we realised my eye sight was incredibly poor, and that I couldn’t see anything further away than the pages of a book…perhaps this was what made me such an avid reader…

What other jobs have you had?

During my teenage years I discovered the wonderful world of magic, and so, for the majority of my teenage and young adult life I worked in a magic shop and as a magician doing close-up magic at parties and restaurants.

I lived in rural China for a year teaching English as a second language, and when I returned back to Melbourne I became an integration aide in the local primary school before becoming a primary school teacher.

What themes are recurring in your work?

In my writing I am drawn to the absences and silences in the world. At one of the first author talks I ever went to, the author said it was his job to shine a light in all the dark places. This idea stuck with me, and I have gone out shining my light ever since.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Attending The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize awards ceremony. I met my favourite author David Almond, as well as Piers Torday, SF Said, Alex Wheatle and a whole bunch of other people I have been following for a long time. The awards ceremony is also the awards for the Young Critics competition, and so I was able to meet an amazing group of kids who spoke just beautifully about my work and the importance of reading and writing.

Where have your works been published?

Australia, America, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Brazil, Holland and Korea.

What are you passionate about?

Imagination. Without imagination there is no change, and kids have the best imaginations of all. Their minds are wide open to possibility. They can imagine those spaces hidden from most of us; they can imagine what those silenced people are saying. They are the future.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Perhaps years ago shoving a deck of cards in your face while you were trying to enjoy a nice meal out with your loved one? Other than that, the furthest I get now is the school run and the dog park…

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