The Visitors

I grew up in-between places, a village at the eastern foot-hills of Nepal and a Catholic school nestled in the misty hills of Darjeeling. At the school library, I read ‘The Giant Turnip’ my first picture book. I also took my art classes quite seriously and grew a fondness for watercolours. I am still chasing those moody water-coloured landscapes in my illustrations to this day. When I was home during vacations I would go on long walks exploring the village countryside with ‘Puppy’ my white Japanese spitz. Years later ‘Puppy’ happened to be the protagonist of my first picture book. 

Most of my childhood experiences have shaped my picture-making and storytelling. In ‘The Visitors, my latest picture book, I found myself exploring the idea of nature as a healing force. It is a story about a group of animals who visit Kathmandu one winter brushing with the inhabitants of a busy city. The animals here are messengers of the natural world, seeking to ask us if there is a possibility that both the animal and the human world could live in harmony one day?


The Visitors read aloud. Video: Samagra Shah and Prasiit Sthapit


Shaun Tan: We’re not being mean to animals – but there is evil in obliviousness, Sian Cian, The Guardian, 2020

The keeper of conscience, Smriti Mallapaty, Lalit Magazine, 2013

The role of myth in understanding nature. Ethnobiology Letters, Raymond Pierotti, Ethnobiology Letters, 2016

Why look at animals, John Berger, About Looking, 1980

Planet earth 2: filming wildlife in cities, Fredi Devas, ScienceFocus, 2016