Feature Week 26: Books, films and more...
During the 26th week of the National Year of Reading, we turn the spotlight on Tristan Bancks, an ambassador who has tried his hand at acting, writing and producing films and is now a full time author.
Tristan grew up in the Blue Mountains, NSW. As a teenager he undertook acting training at Sydney's Q Theatre, before landing a regular role playing Peter Tug O'Neale in the television drama Home and Away. His role on Home and Away concluded and Tristan headed to London where he spent several year writing, researching and presenting TV shows.
On his return to Australia where he now lives on the NSW north coast, Tristan continued acting and began writing short films. He won a Flickerfest International Short Film Festival award for Soar, a movie he directed in 2004. Tristan also completed a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England focusing on English and communications.
Tristan has been a full time writer for several years, and his books, aimed at children through to young adults, are published in Australia and the US. As a writer, he likes to create fast moving tales, often targeting boys who are reluctant readers. Tristan can claim an inherited writing talent - his great great uncle, Jimmy Bancks created the famous Ginger Meggs cartoons.
Want to know even more about Tristan? Take a look at a recent author profile on the NSW Writers' Centre blog:
Tristan's thoughts on reading and the National Year of Reading
The National Year of Reading is a genius idea. Reading is second only to breathing in my list of priorities (water and love are useful, too). I have found spirituality, happiness, guidance and escape through books from a very young age. As a writer reading is the most essential tool for learning and I am always on the quest for the next story that will rock me. I believe in sharing the power of reading and nurturing creativity in children everywhere.
Right now I am working with Room to Read and Stubbies in an attempt to build a school library for kids with no books in Cambodia. We are attempting to raise $20,000 by 31 August and we're asking schools everywhere to get involved in our World Change Challenge for Book Week 2012.
Take a look at the following clip - it offers some great fundraising suggestions for anyone interested in supporting the Stubbies World Change Challenge.
Want to know more about the World Change Challenge? Go to their website:
Find out more about Room to Read, a National Year of Reading partner, on their website:
Tristan has written several books including the Mac Slater cool hunter series and the Nit Boy books. Nit Boy is currently being developed for television. His most recent releases are 'Galactic adventures: first kids in space' and 'My life and other stuff I made up'.
'My life and other stuff I made up' evolved from many awkward, strange and funny events that Tristan experienced as a child. The book is full of short stories, jokes and cartoons as seen through the eyes of the main character, Tom Weekly.
The following trailer from the book gives a sneak peek into what you can expect:
Dash Campbell, the main character in Tristan's 'Galactic adventures: first kids in space', is forced to face and conquer his fears. He has always dreamt of going into space, but first Dash has to survive space school. It's a perfect book for reluctant readers or those not interested in fantasy or vampires.
Tristan recently launched Story Scrapbook, a free app for Mac and PC that lets you bring together images, video, music, text and web grabs in the development of a story. It is a multimedia story brainstorming tool. To find out more about Story Scrapbook and download a copy, visit Tristan's website:
Tristan's reading habits
- When do you read? At night before bed, on weekends, for ten minutes as I start my work day. I fit reading in to the cracks and crevices of life. It's my easiest escape hatch out of the 'real' world.
- Do you have a favourite genre?
I read a lot of children's and Young Adult to keep up with what is being published and to educate myself on what makes good kid and YA lit. I enjoy biographies, and recently liked 'Steve Jobs'.
- What's the book you've read most often?
'A Joseph Campbell companion: reflections on the art of living' by Diane K Osbon.
'A moveable feast' by Ernest Hemingway.
- Which book is by your bedside right now?
'Breath' by Tim Winton
'Joey Pigza loses control' by Jack Gantos
'Zen mind, beginner's mind' by Shunryu Suzuki (on Kindle)
- What's your perfect holiday read? Hmmm... I don't think I take enough holidays to know. If you give me the holiday I'll read anything.
- What was the last book you borrowed from your public library?
'Don't call me Ishmael' by Michael Gerard Bauer.
'Graffiti moon' by Cath Crowley
'Stolen' by Lucy Christopher
- What was the last book you bought from a bookshop?
'Fifty Sh- ' (Just kidding ☺)
'Dead end in Norvelt' by Jack Gantos
- What was the last book you received as a gift?
'Together we are one' by Thich Nhat Hanh.
- What was the last/first e-book you downloaded?
First: 'The book thief' by Markus Zusak
Last: 'White fang' by Jack London
- How do you get hold of books, for example, library, bookshop or gifts? All of the above. I'm a book-hog. I hire, buy, download and borrow many more books than I ever have time to read but the gathering of the books is sometimes as enjoyable as reading them.
- Print books, ereader or both? Both. If the story is engaging enough the device disappears.
- Do you have lots of books on the go at once, or just one? Lots, sadly. I wish I could say just one but I go with the mood.
- Do your ever cheat and read the end of the book first? Never! Do people do that?
- Do you skim the boring bits or read every word? I like to read every word but if the writer loses me I will skim or close the book.
- At what point do you give up on a book? I will often know just a few pages in. Only repeated good reviews from friends will send me back to a book that I have given up on.
- Do you remember learning to read? No. I remember running through a plate glass door when I was four and bleeding quite a lot. But not learning to read.
- What's the first book you can remember reading or having read to you?
In the public library, I remember reading 'Fungus the bogeyman', 'Where the wild things are' and 'Where did I come from?'
- Did you like to read as a child?
Loved it. I don't know how much money I raised for Multiple Sclerosis awareness but it was a lot. ;-)
- Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
'Huck Finn' and 'My side of the mountain'.
- Do you use your local public library? Yes. Weekly.
- Estimate the number of books you own. I try not to hoard. Perhaps 2000?
- Where do you read? If the book is good enough I will read it anywhere I can.
- What author or illustrator has most influenced you? How have they done so?
No single author but, over time, I have loved:
- Paul Jennings (Willingness to push the bounds of reality)
- Judy Blume (character)
- Stephen King (character, setting, techniques for gripping the reader)
- Mark Twain (humour, the influence of Nature on character)
- Jim Bancks (humour, character, tapping the mind of a child)
- Ernest Hemingway and Gary Paulsen (clean, unadorned prose).
Want to know more?
- To read more about Tristan take a look at his website, twitter and facebook pages:
- If you want to see the other National Year of Reading ambassadors, go to our ambassadors page.
- Other featured ambassadors can be found on the ambassador feature week listing.