The Trickster’s Hat by Nick Bantock – review

The Griffin & Sabine books had, without doubt, some of the most ingenious and creative storytelling I’ve ever come across between two covers. I still have all of our original books (carefully shelved in the “favorites of favorites” section of our bookshelves.)

trickI remember rushing out to the bookstore when each book was released and then settling myself down to slowly go over each and every page. The mystery, the adventure, the artistry, quite simply, those books were at a level of magic to which I enviously aspired.

Was there any doubt that I would not take a look at The Trickster’s Hat – A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity by Nick Bantock, author of Griffin & Sabine? I mean, really. Was there even a slight chance I wouldn’t review this one?

I think not.

The Trickster’s Hat is a small book which sits solidly in your hands. It’s a good book to hold.

It describes itself as “explores such elements of creativity as:

  • Working from dreams and archetypes
  • Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy
  • Silence, the unexpected and mysterious
  • Where to begin and end, and more.”

This is not your typical prompt writing book (it is filled with 49 exercises gleaned from creativity workshops Bantock has taught) instead this book contains thought provoking, “what if” scenarios

Here’s one exercise

4. Pictorial Autobiography

An editor told me that the majority of first novels should be ditched as soon as they are completed because they will inevitably be a thinly disguised justification of one’s own existence. “I’m right and you were all wrong.”

As harsh as that is, there are probably a few grains of truth there. We all need to tell our life story once, to give our version of who and why we are, if only to feel that we have been seen and heard. But rather than spending a year or two battling with 350 pages of text, you might want to try the following pictorial autobiography.

It’s a way to get your version of events out of your system in under a couple of hours.

You are then walked through an exercise where you create 3 blocks that are then filled with the symbols of your life – childhood, teen and adult. You are also asked to do this in black and white for two reasons:

First, because it’s hard enough to tell your life story in three pictures, without having to deal with the complexities of color balancing and second, because black and white tends to give history authenticity (personal or otherwise.)

It’s the little nuances like that, these insights into true creativity (along with the illustrations that bring me right back to Griffin & Sabine) that make The Trickster’s Hat stand out. I am quite certain that if you work through all of the exercises you will unlock at different way of looking at your life.


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). ( She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

3 thoughts on “The Trickster’s Hat by Nick Bantock – review

  1. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Writing is Not for Sissies Plus Good Reads and Writing Advice | Live to Write - Write to Live

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s