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Sydney Writers’ Festival’s Russ The Story Bus – Decorated by Shaun Tan – is Off to Western Sydney

Source: Zeitgeist Media Group
Archived 18 Dec 2016 - Posted: 19 Oct 2016
From 31 October to 9 December 2016, Russ the Story Bus, adorned with Shaun Tan’s distinctive artwork, will travel with a special cargo of authors to meet children in Western Sydney and Regional NSW.

Sydney Writers’ Festival’s Children’s Festival of Moving Stories is thrilled to announce that this year’s Russ the Story Bus artwork has been drawn from the acclaimed Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan.

The 2016 Children’s Festival of Moving Stories features 30 of Australia’s most-loved children’s authors, as well as debut author Richard Roxburgh, author of Artie and the Grime Wave. The  two month program offers free events at schools, libraries and community venues across the city’s west and in the regional centres of Bathurst, Orange, Parkes, Dubbo, Mudgee, Maitland and Gosford.

"The Children’s Festival of Moving Stories is part of a long-term strategy by Sydney Writers’ Festival to introduce young readers to authors and illustrators to inspire them in their own aspirations for the future," said Clare Sawyer, recently appointed Sydney Writers’ Festival’s Head of Children’s Programs.

The Children’s Festival of Moving Stories is a key part of Sydney Writers’ Festival’s ongoing commitment to presenting quality literary events for children, particularly in Western Sydney. This program has been developed in consultation with teachers, parents, librarians, community groups and arts organisations to reflect the area’s rich cultural diversity. In addition, it’s Russ the Story Bus’s first foray into regional NSW.

Shaun Tan, whose artwork adorns Russ the Story Bus is known for his books The Rabbits, The Red Tree, Tales from Outer Suburbia, The Singing Bones and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival which have all been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of every age. Shaun also directed the Academy Award-winning short film The Lost Thing. In 2011 he received the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honouring his contribution to international children's literature.

Shaun remarked of his involvement with the Festival, "I’m so delighted to be able to contribute artwork for this year’s Children’s Festival of Moving Stories Russ the Story Bus. Who wouldn’t want to paint something on a bus? And a bus that is also a library! What a privilege."

‘It’s very much like one of my own stories brought to life: a colourful machine wandering through suburbs, hunted down by countless book-hungry children, all ready to stuff bags and pillowcases with tales of high adventure, laughter and mystery. Does it get any better than that?’

Who is Russ?

Russ the Story Bus is a mobile creative space where children can browse a library full of the latest children’s books, choose a book to take home, swap a book, settle down and listen to a story or learn how to create a story. Russ’s mission is to take stories out into Greater Western Sydney and regional NSW. Joining Russ for the ride to each school will be an Australian author or illustrator who will chat with children about their craft. This year’s talented line-up includes James Roy, Dub Leffler, Katrina Nannestad and Tony Wilson touring Western Sydney and riding with Russ in regional NSW are Judith Rossell and Tony Flowers.

Meet the Authors on Russ in Western Sydney


Dub Leffler, a Bigambul man, is the author and illustrator of Once There Was a Boy. Dub has worked in animation, film, muralism and the performing arts; he has also illustrated over 20 publications. He has taught illustration in Australia and internationally and has collaborated with Shaun Tan, Sally Morgan and Banksy. Dub and his family live on beautiful Guringai country in Horsfield Bay, where he is illustrating his first title for the National Library of Australia.


Katrina Nannestad grew up in country NSW. Her adult years have been spent teaching, raising boys, perfecting her recipe for chocolate-chip bickies and pursuing her love of stories. Her books for young readers include Olive of Groves, Olive of Groves and the Great Slurp of Time, The Girl Who Brought Mischief, When Mischief Came to Town, and the Red Dirt Diary series.


James Roy was born in western NSW and spent much of his childhood in Papua New Guinea and Fiji. He attributes much of his early interest in books to the absence of TV, a wonderful library full of adventure books, and the opportunity to play as those characters in wild, adventuresome places. James has written a number of critically acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction for young people, including the CBCA Honour Books Captain Mack and Billy Mack's War, and six CBCA Notable Books. In 2008, Town also won the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the Golden Inky in Australia’s only teenage choice awards. Anonymity Jones won the 2010 Western Australian Premier’s Book Award for young adult literature.


Tony Wilson’s latest picture book, The Cow Tripped Over the Moon was awarded Honour Book in the 2016 CBCA awards. He’s written more than a dozen titles aimed at both adults and children, Emo the Emu, The Thirsty Flowers, The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas and Stuff Happens: Jack. Tony is a father of four, from Melbourne, who turned to writing and the creative arts after a brief stint as lawyer. In a distant century, Tony won the ABC travel documentary series Race Around the World.

Russ the Story Bus Western Sydney schedule

Blacktown & Parramatta: Monday 31 October - Friday 4 November, author James Roy
Penrith & Fairfield: Monday 7 November - Friday 11 November, author/illustrator Dub Leffler
Liverpool & Bankstown: Monday 14 November - Friday 18 November, author Katrina Nannestad
Campbelltown & Camden: Monday 21 November - Friday 25 November, author Tony Wilson

Meet The Authors on Russ in Regional NSW


Judith Rossell is a writer and illustrator of maze and puzzle books, picture books and novels, which have been published in 16 languages. She has written 12 books and illustrated 80 including  Bogtrotter, by Margaret Wild. Recently, her picture book Oliver was published by Harper Collins in New York. Her illustrated novel Withering-by-Sea, won a number of awards, and the sequel,  Wormwood Mire, will be published in November. She teaches writing at RMIT and the Australian Writers Centre, and has a cat the size of a walrus.


Tony Flowers is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and artist. His drawings are loved in Japan for their detail and humour and he has won an award in the US for his street chalk art. He has illustrated 16 books with author Nick Falk, including the popular Saurus Street, Billy is a Dragon and Samurai Vs Ninja series. Tony has a master’s degree in visual communication and is a current PhD candidate at University of Canberra, studying visual literacy.

Russ the Story Bus Regional NSW Tour

Bathurst: Monday 28 November, author Tony Flowers
Orange: Tuesday 29 November, author Tony Flowers
Parkes: Wednesday 30 November, author Tony Flowers
Dubbo: Thursday 1 December, Friday 2 December, author Tony Flowers
Mudgee: Monday 5 December, author/Illustrator Judith Rossell
Maitland: Wednesday 7 December, author/Illustrator Judith Rossell
Gosford: Thursday 8 December - Friday 9 December, author/Illustrator Judith Rossell

This article archived 18 Dec 2016

Photo: Prudence Upton
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