An introduction to Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine books and a new book on creativity, The Trickster’s Hat (Perigree, 2014). In The Trickster’s Hat, Bantock shares exercises for writers and artists that explore elements of creativity such as where to begin, working from dreams and archetypes, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, silence, the unexpected, the mysterious, and more.
Quick Facts on Nick Bantock
- Bantock online: www.nickbantock.com | The Trickster’s Hat: www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780399165023,00.html?The_Trickster’s_Hat_Nick_Bantock
- Home: Victoria, BC, Canada
- What’s your comfort food: very dark chocolate
- Top reads: H E Bates (everything), Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Fencing Master, George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones, Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row
- Current reads: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
What are you working on at the moment?
A fiction called The Isle of Sarte (due late 2014).
What spurred you to write The Trickster’s Hat?
I wanted produce a book that would really assist artists, writers, and anyone else who wished to expand their creativity. A book that was fun, intense, visually rich, and a powerful artistic-aphrodisiac.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A newfound enthusiasm for their life, the universe, and making things!
“A newfound enthusiasm for their life,
the universe, and making things!”
Where and when do you prefer to write and make art?
Anytime. In my sleep too, if I could.
Do you listen to anything while you write?
Depends. Not when writing, but painting I’ll often listen to a shuffle of music or book discs. I like being read to.
Where would you most want to live and write?
Can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than Victoria. As long as I get to go back to Europe once a year.
Do you have a philosophy for how and why you write?
Don’t write if you have nothing to say. Don’t fake it. Trust the process. Make yourself laugh and be as honest as you can.
How do you balance content with form? How does the structure of the book influence the story?
For me, form and content have to live together in a marriage of equality. Let one take over and you fall off the tightrope.
Much of your work, including the Griffin and Sabine books, combines art and writing, so how do images inform your writing?
The question should read both ways. Words inform images, images inform words. it is an ongoing circle.
“Words inform images,
images inform words.”
What do you find most challenging about writing? Creating art?
Trying to see things from a different angle. It’s also the easiest thing once it becomes more important than repeating a successful formula.
When you’re stuck on a piece, where do you look for inspiration?
I keep moving. I have more than one thing going. I don’t believe in being stuck. I simply move to where my enthusiasm sits, and trust that I will eventually circle back to a place where answers become obvious.
“I simply move to where
my enthusiasm sits.”
How have your goals as a writer and artist changed over time?
I no longer believe that it’s about me. As I see it, I’m just the pipe through which ‘it’ pumps. Less ego, more enjoyment and surprise.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Artists?
Live, and when you have something you need to express, put it down in the most honest and imaginative way you are able.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a writer or artist?
Don’t do it. That made me want to do it and do it bloody well!
Is there something that you wish people would ask about your work more often?
Describe the various layers in your book. e.g. Griffin and Sabine was a love story, but it was also about the balancing of intuition and logic. It was an alchemical tale and it was meant to wake up a dormant desire for the magic that comes when art, life and spirituality combine.
When you’re not writing and making art, what do you like to do?
Think for fun, play poker, watch soccer (used to play but my knees are shot), read, see movies, live for life.
About Nick Bantock
Nick Bantock is the author/artist of twenty-five books, including the Griffin and Sabine books, which stayed on the New York Times best seller list for two years. Bantock’s works have been translated into thirteen languages and over five million copies have been sold worldwide.
[Toffoli, Marissa B. “Interview With Writer & Artist Nick Bantock.” Words With Writers (February 3, 2014), https://wordswithwriters.com/2014/01/03/nick-bantock.]