'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 24 August 2021

12 Curly Questions with author/illustrator Philip Bunting

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I can only write by hand in UPPERCASE! It’s a bit of a glitch in the old system, one that I’ve had since I was in primary school. Related to this, I also hold a pencil like a dart – with all four fingers on one side of the pen, and an (almost!) opposable thumb on the other. A dull answer this may be, but I estimate that there are probably one or two other creative types reading this with similar afflictions! So if you’re reading this and you also write in ALL CAPS, or can’t hold a pencil the way they try to teach you in school... please get in touch and we will form a gang. We can drink tea and whinge about how the ALL-CAPS wishes we send in greetings cards always come across just a little too intensely, and other mild inconveniences.

2. What is your nickname?
I am lucky to be able to coach my son’s junior rugby team – the great and powerful Eumundi Dragons U8s! The boys have recently taken to addressing me by a brand new nickname... Stinky Phil. No idea why!? Haha. Outrageous disrespect. Grumble grumble. Kids these days...

3. What is your greatest fear?
Moths, indoors. You should see some of the things that fly into our place on summer nights here in Queensland – they are bloody terrifying!

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.
Making it up as I go (most of the time).

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Vincit qui se vincit. Pretentious.

6. What book character would you be, and why?
Doesn’t everyone answer ‘Jesus’ to this one? Granted, he met with a grizzly end, but those 33 years he had were pretty impressive. And what a comeback!

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d head straight to 2097 to meet my three children in their 80s, and hear about the wonderful things they’ve done with their time on Earth.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?
“Heads up – your drawing skills won’t improve from this point on.”

9. Who is your greatest influence?
My three beautiful babies: Leo, Florence and Arthur. I feel like there have been two iterations of me, one pre-, and one post-kids. Becoming a father at 30 gave me such a profound and elemental shift in perspective.

10. What/who made you start writing?
My first book, Mopoke, was written as a first birthday present for my daughter, Florence. I had no interest in getting it published at the time, but my better half, Laura, encouraged me to send the manuscript to a few publishers.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Can I have two? 'Unbelievable!' for sheer utility and versatility, and 'Squonk!', purely for the phonetic, onomatopoeic, silly joy of the word.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’d quite like to spend some time with the Bhagavad Gita or Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. I’m pretty dumb, so it would likely take me the rest of my life to fully comprehend the wisdom in either of these.

Read KBR's reviews of Liarbird, The Gentle Genius of Trees and How Did I Get Here?

Philip Bunting is an author and illustrator with a soft spot for creating picture books for sleep-deprived, time-poor, raisin-encrusted parents (and their children). Philip’s work deliberately encourages playful interaction between the reader and child, allowing his books to create a platform for genuine intergenerational engagement, and fun. For more information, see www.philipbunting.com.