Feature Week 9: WA Writers and Illustrators
During the ninth week of the National Year of Reading we showcase two West Australian ambassadors: Frané Lessac and Shaun Tan. This coincides with Write On! a special WA writers and illustrators exhibition at the State Library of Western Australia.
Frané was born in New Jersey, USA and spent time in the Caribbean Island of Montserrat and the United Kingdom before moving to Australia.
As a child, Frané toyed with the idea of becoming a veterinarian, and had many pets including a monkey and snakes. Fortunately for us, she was also exposed to the artistic influences of New York City with its many galleries and museums. She attended film school in California before turning her efforts to painting and publishing.
She is a talented artist, author and illustrator, having created beautiful illustrations for more than thirty books. Frané is married to children's author, Mark Greenwood, and they have collaborated on many children's books. Much of Frané's work features stories based on life in the United States, the Caribbean Islands and Australia. The many countries she visits continue to provide a major influence for Frané's art work and books.
Frané's motto is just perfect for her role as a National Year of Reading ambassador: 'Read, think and dream'.
Frané's thoughts on books, reading and the National Year of Reading
I'm proud to be a National Year of Reading Ambassador and being involved in something I'm passionate about - books and the joy of reading. Sharing a love of a books is one of the best gifts anyone can give - an opportunity to read, think and dream. By promoting reading to our youth, we are empowering them with knowledge of their rich and varied cultures, their uniqueness, and their emerging identities so they can develop a well-informed worldview.
Take a look at this fun clip Frané put together to tell us about her love of books and reading.
Frané's reading habits
- Which book is by your bedside right now? There’s always a pile. The one bookmarked at the moment is 'Los Angeles stories' by Ry Cooder.
- What's your perfect holiday read? I love to travel with books and get lost in worlds unknown with words that take me to places where my imagination is amazed and amused.
- What was the last book you bought from a bookshop? 'Bite-size Twain: wit and wisdom from the literary legend' from a small bookshop in Hannibal, Missouri, supposedly the house where Becky Thatcher once lived.
- What was the last book you received as a gift? 'Sidney Nolan'. It’s a big beautiful art book given to me by my husband. He knows how much I admire Nolan's paintings.
- What was the last/first e-book you downloaded? 'Steve Jobs'. It was wild reading his biography on an iPad, his own technology.
- How do you get hold of books? I get hold of books at book launches and literature festivals and through recommendations. Many of my friends are talented authors. I love to read their latest endeavours.
- What's the first book you can remember reading or having read to you? 'Are you my mother?' - read to me by my mother.
- Did you like to read as a child? I loved to read. My school didn't have a Library, but there was a public one in the town. I was so proud of my library card when it was full of 'borrowing' stamps.
- Do you have a favourite book from your childhood? 'Blueberries for Sal' by Robert McCloskey.
- Where do you read? On planes. I fly a lot and enjoy the expanse of time where I can read uninterrupted.
Frané's favourite reads
- 'The paintings of Henry Miller: paint as you like and die happy: with collected essays by Henry Miller on the art of watercolor'. This book has wonderful stories and letters, along with Miller's watercolours, from his Paris days. Miller's philosophy of painting as you like without worrying what others think, inspired me to paint in my own naive style.
- 'Collected sonnets of Edna St.Vincent Millay'. I bought a copy back in college after my first heartbreak and kept that copy ever since. It reminds me of the romantic young woman I was and the romantic I am now.
- 'Clea: the Alexandria quartet, book four' by Lawrence Durrell. It’s a powerful book, an exploration into the human heart; full of breathtakingly beautiful descriptions of life in every form - his words are an inspiration for all writers and artists.
Later this month, Frané will release her latest work, 'The greatest liar on earth'. It is an adventure story, telling a remarkable tale of the shipwreck and miraculous survival of Louis de Rougement. It is the ‘true’ story of an unusual character, an enthusiastic dreamer, perhaps a charlatan, who is forced to confront the consequences of his storytelling.
Frané has kindly shared some of her artwork from the book, including a ‘work in progress’.
The book is illustrated by Frane, written by Mark Greenwood and published by Walker Books, a National Year of Reading partner.
This trailer for 'The greatest liar on earth' gives us a further glimpse of Frané's wonderful artistic talent.
Home-grown literary talent is on show as part of the National Year of Reading 2012 celebrations in Western Australia. writingWA and the State Library of Western Australia present Write On!, an exhibition celebrating West Australian authors and illustrators.
National Year of Reading ambassadors Shaun Tan, Frane Lessac and Paul Carter, along with National Year of Reading friend Sally Morgan are just a few of the many authors and illustrators featured in the exhibition which has been based on writingWA’s Natural Selection collection.
As well as showcasing original manuscripts, illustrations and research material behind works such as Norman Jorgensen’s Flanders Fields and Elaine Forrestal’s Straggler’s Reef, the Write On! exhibition will also delve into the diverse backgrounds of the authors and illustrators themselves.
Write On! will be on display on the ground floor of the State Library of Western Australia in the Perth Cultural Centre from Thursday 5 April to Sunday 24 June 2012.
To find out more about Write On!:
You can find more information about WA authors and illustrators on the websites of writingWA, a National Year of Reading partner and the State Library of Western Australia, a National Year of Reading founder.
Here are just a few important dates on Frané’s calendar:
- April 27th Book Launch: ‘The greatest liar on earth’
- April 30th - May 5th Margaret River Writer’s Festival WA A National Year of Reading partner.
- May 6th - 9th Pilbara School Tour WA
- May 23rd National Simultaneous Story Time reading
- May 24th Rosalie Writer’s Festival WA
- May 28th - June 1st Brisbane School Tour QLD
For more events featuring Frané, take a look at her website:
Want to know more?
To find out more about what makes Frané tick, take a look at a recent blog posting on the Walk-a-Book blog created by National Year of Reading partner, Walker Books.
- You can follow Frané on her website and blog for regular updates and tour information.
- Find out about our other featured ambassador for week nine: Shaun Tan.
- If you want to find out about all the National Year of Reading ambassadors, go to our ambassadors page.
- Other featured ambassadors can be found on the ambassador feature week listing.