Guest Post by author Sally Rippin

Today I am lucky to have the author of Chenxi and the Foreigner and of several other books and she is also an illustrator of some of those books as well.

Thank you to Sally Rippin for taking the time of her busy schedule to stop and do a guest post for me. Also thank you to Joanna at Annick Press for arranging this for me. If you haven’t read any of Sally’s books then I suggest you pick up her books.

GUEST BLOG POST by Sally Rippin

It is too difficult for me to choose my favourite YA novel because there are so many, but I can name some Australian YA authors I love, in no particular order: Markus Zusak, Margo Lanagan, Sonya Hartnett, Martine Murray, Shaun Tan – all these writers combine such fine storytelling with incredibly inventive language and imagery, the two things I admire most in writing.

If I had to choose my all-time favourite book I’d have to go for a picture book because it combines the two things I love most: writing and art. Probably Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, would be my choice because it is such a great example of boundless imagination, both from the character and the author! I can’t wait until the movie comes out!

Thanks again Sally for stopping by to do this guest post for me and thank you for introducing me to some new authors. I actually have I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak on my to be read pile. I will be checking out the other authors you mentioned though.

(Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is a favorite of my son. Its a great story.)


Sally Rippin was born in Australia, but because of her father’s work, her family moved country nearly every two years, mainly around South-East Asia. This meant a lot of time in hotel rooms, so her mother provided a steady supply of paper, pencils and books to keep Sally and her two younger sisters entertained. Books became a way for Sally to connect, understand, learn from, and often escape from, the ever-changing world around her. When the supply of books ran out, Sally began to write and illustrate her own.

At nineteen, Sally went to stay with her father in Shanghai, China. To keep her busy while he was at work, he signed her up at the local art college to study traditional Chinese painting. She fell in love – both with the art and the country – and ended up staying three years. There, while studying art, she began writing again, at first merely to record the details of everyday life but also to make sense of what she was experiencing. Soon she found she could explore her emotions more deeply through short stories than through diary entries, or letters to her friends. Many of these stories and experiences eventually found their way into her first novel, Chenxi and the Foreigner (Spring 2009).

Her time as an art student in China allowed Sally a unique vision of this country that she wouldn’t have had access to in other circumstances. She feels lucky to have been part of a community of artists who were passionate and political, and taught her much about the importance of the role of the artist in observing, recording and analysing society. These are themes she explores in her novel. As Sally says through her main character, Anna: “Artists are here to show the viewer or reader or listener, things that we may never have thought about before—or even everyday things in a unique way.”

Sally now lives with her partner and three sons in Melbourne, Australia, where she writes and illustrates full-time. She has had over twenty-five books published, many of them award-winning. As Sally grew up in many countries where English isn’t the main language, she is familiar with the feeling of being an outsider and she continues to be drawn to stories or characters who express this, whether they be immigrants, troubled teenagers or rebellious artists. Now, as a writer, she appreciates the distance that having been an outsider allows her to reflect on the world that she lives in.

Please check out the following blogs for more stops that Sally will be making:

Thursday, September 3:
September 4: Hey! Teenager of the YearSaturday
September 5: Into the Wardrobe

She has also appeared here:
Monday, August 31: Tea Time at Annick Press
Tuesday, September 1: The Book Muncher

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