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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

SG Wong is the creator of the Lola Starke hardboiled detective series set in Crescent City, California, in an alternate history in which China colonised North America. Arthur Ellis Award-finalist Wong is also a sparkling stalwart of Edmonton’s literary scene as an organiser of writer conferences. She’s one of those outstanding individuals whose endless energy benefits everyone in the community. In this episode of MF Galaxy, SG Wong discusses:

  • How a major publisher of her first novel did almost nothing to sell their own book
  • The impact of going indie on her work and creativity
  • How writers must view their own work
  • Under what conditions writers should conduct seminars in schools
  • Her approach to world building her magnificent alt-earth setting of Crescent City, and
  • How writers should approach writing characters who possess an ethnic, racial, or other identity unlike their own.

Along the way, Wong refers to Gail, meaning the novelist, writing teacher, and literary organiser Gail Sidonie Sobat. SG Wong spoke with me live onstage at Authorpalooza 3 at Devaney’s Pub in Edmonton in April, 2015.

SG Wong reads from Die On Your Feet

Next, from Authorpalooza 1 from October 2014, is comic book and video game writer Andrew Foley. Andrew Foley writes for Beamdog Game Studio in Edmonton, and wrote the graphic novels Parting Ways (illustrated by Scott Mooney and Nick Craine) and Done to Death, illustrated by star-artist Fiona Staples. But to some, Foley is best known as the writer of the graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens, and that’s the subject of “Andrew Foley’s True Hollywood Stories.”

Jun 24, 2016

Here’s what Stephen King has to say about Tananarive Due’s best known novel, My Soul to Keep: It’s “an eerie epic [that] bears favourable comparison to Interview with the Vampire. I loved this novel.”

When one of the best-selling and most-loved novelists of all time praises your work like that, you know you’ve arrived. But success wasn’t overnight for Tananarive Due. After working for years as a journalist, she took a leave to co-write Freedom in the Family, a memoir of the 1960s US human rights struggle from the perspective of her mother, Patricia Stephens Due, who’d been an activist in it.

Due is the author of twelve novels, including The Living Blood, Devil’s Wake, and Joplin’s Ghost, and the short story collection Ghost Summer. Due has won the American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Kindred Award. In 2004, along with Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, Due received the “New Voice in Literature Award” at the Yari Yari Pamberi conference co-sponsored by New York University's Institute of African-American Affairs and African Studies Program and the Organization of Women Writers of Africa. In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism's Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.

With her novelist husband Steven Barnes, Due writes the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series in partnership with actor Blair Underwood. She holds a journalism degree and an M.A. in English literature from Leeds, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar.

She currently teaches screenwriting at UCLA and in the MFA programme at Antioch University ,Los Angeles.

In this episode of MF GALAXY, Tananarive Due discusses:

  • How learning screenwriting can make you a better novelist
  • Why anyone aspiring to be a novelist should master the short story first
  • Why, even as a creative writing teacher, she won’t read your novel
  • How novice writers mis-use so-called witness narrators
  • Ongoing racist barriers in Hollywood, but a surprising breakthrough in some writers’ rooms for women, and The origins of psychological realism in contemporary science fiction and fantasy

Due spoke with me on June 6, 2016 by Skype from her home in Los Angeles.

 

Writing blog www.tananarivedue.wordpress.com

Website www.tananarivedue.com

Jun 14, 2016

The “brain drain” from Africa’s 55 countries is the cause of much lamentation—sending legions of doctors, engineers, and other professionals to serve the West at the exact moment they can lead economic growth at home.

But Titilope Sonuga is part of the unheralded but very real “brain train,” the expatriates who are moving back home with education, skills, and networks they’ve gained abroad.

Sonuga has ridden that train. She’s lived on two continents, had a career in Canada as a civil engineer, co-founded Edmonton’s thriving Breath In Poetry performance collective and hit stages with her work across the country, relocated to her family’s home country of Nigeria, become an Intel spokesperson to encourage women to use information technology, performed her verse at the inauguration of Nigeria’s president, and ascended to television stardom in Nigeria.

Not bad for a thirty-year-old, huh?

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Titilope Sonuga discusses:

  • How she came to perform at the presidential inauguration for a country of 180 million people
  • Her approach to rehearsals for spoken-word poetry performances and how she addresses anxiety
  • The purposes of Intel Nigeria’s campaign She Will Connect, and why the tech giant asked her to be its spokesperson
  • The many reasons that artists should embrace science and technology, and how her engineering mindset lives in her poetry aesthetics, and
  • The perks of getting famous by being a star on one of Nollywood’s most beloved television shows.

Sonuga spoke with me by Skype from her apartment in Lagos, Nigeria on November 15, 2015.

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Jun 9, 2016

Although Saskatchewan-born songwriter, piano player, bassist, and singer Colleen Brown now lives in Ontario, she spent most of her musical education and career in Edmonton. She’s released five albums, including her 2004 debut A Peculiar Thing, 2008’s Foot in Heart, and 2015’s Direction. Brown has opened for acclaimed musicians including Randy Newman, Jim Cuddy, and Hawksley Workman, and she’s toured the United Kingdom and Germany. While she’s often compared to Joni Mitchell, her voice and her musical approach are truly her own.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Colleen Brown discusses:

  • The horror of what recording artists call demo-itis
  • The Canadian artistic tradition of competitive hoop-jumping, otherwise known as applying for grants
  • The importance of the right kind of feedback from the right kind of person
  • Learning how to deal with con artists and overpromisers, and
  • How best to help fellow musicians trying to earn a living

Colleen Brown spoke with me by Skype from her home in Ontario on April 26, 2016. We began by discussing the turmoil of recording studio disasters.

Jun 1, 2016

Vancouver-based comics artist and writer Faith Erin Hicks has been publishing graphic novels since 2007, and her best known books include Brain Camp, Friends with Boys, and The Last of Us. She’s just released the historical adventure work The Nameless City, set in medieval China. Her work features girls and boys in contemporary, realist, and horror scenarios, and is funny, heartfelt, and exciting. Part of the energy and character in Hicks’s drafting comes from her animation training, which also emphasised the importance of what animators call “acting” in pictures. In 2011, she won the prestigious Eisner Award for The Adventures of Superhero Girl.

Hicks’s latest work is The Nameless City, published by First Second. It’s the first volume of a trilogy set in Mongol-occupied China. It’s about a street girl named Rat and a military brat named Kai who learn from each other about how much bigger life is than their own deprived worlds, and how they run head-first into a plot to assassinate their city’s ruler.

In spring 2016, Hicks was touring North America to support The Nameless City, and in April she came to Edmonton as the guest of Happy Harbor Comics, through which she conducted workshops around the city and in St. Albert.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Faith Erin Hicks discusses:

  • The intended audiences of The Nameless City trilogy
  • The remarkable speed at which she created the thumbnails—or prototype comic pages—for The Nameless City
  • Her switch from contemporary realist and horror to historical fantasy adventure
  • Reactions from East Asian readers and creators to the book’s Chinese context, and
  • The significant difference between the “girl stories” that female and male graphic novelists are creating

 

Hicks spoke with me by Skype on April 29, 2016. She began by discussing the superstars of animation and graphic novels who’ve raved about The Nameless City.

faitherinhicks.com

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