100 Scope Notes
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Finding FAUSTO, an Interview with Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers has a new book out this week. It’s called The Fate of Fausto and it manages to be both timeless and timely, as the main character seeks dominion over the natural world.

I emailed with Oliver about the book.

Travis: Thanks for taking my questions, Oliver. So The Fate of Fausto – is it fair to call the book a cautionary tale?

Oliver: I suppose if you had to. I wouldn’t go out of my way to say it is a cautionary tale as I think there is a degree of more subtlety than that. I think The Fate of Fausto underlines the current ignorance and arrogance that is part of the existence of modern humanity. The reality is that it isn’t a cautionary tale as it doesn’t actually warn against anything.

Travis: What was the writing process like?

Oliver: The process was immediate and came out in one go. I found the first sketch book and very little had changed from the first sketched until now.

The idea for The Fate of Fausto came about while I was thinking about something else. I was in a car on the northern coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland and everything I wrote was what I saw around me, so there was a sense of immediacy in that way.

Travis: The book immediately stands out to me for its spareness. How did that come about?

Oliver: The book was made using traditional lithographic techniques and I did that because it felt like an old story and I wanted to honour traditional book making techniques and the sparseness comes from using lithography as a medium. Also I didn’t know what I was doing!

Travis: Now for the big question: What snack puts you in peak creativity mode? Or was there a particular snack that powered this book?

Oliver: Crepes! The book was made at IDEM studios in Paris, which happens to be on the street that is the crepe capital of Paris! It is right by the train station in the northern part of the city.

Travis: Thank you Oliver! And thank you Lizzie Goodell for making this interview happen.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.