Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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SG WONG ON WORLD-BUILDING, HELPING WRITERS GET PAID, AND GOING INDIE WHEN YOUR MAJOR PUBLISHER DOES NOTHING FOR YOU (MF GALAXY 084)



WRITING HARDBOILED DETECTIVE FICTION IN ALTERNATE HISTORY CRESCENT CITY, VALUING YOUR OWN WORK, AND HOW TO WRITE “THE OTHER” RESPECTFULLY


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:


  • 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.



At Authorpalooza 1 from October 2014, I spoke with 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.”



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NOVELIST + SCREENWRITER TANANARIVE DUE ON HOW SCREENWRITING CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER NOVELIST, HOLLYWOOD RACISM BUT ANTI-SEXISM, + WHY SHE WON’T READ YOUR MANUSCRIPT (MF GALAXY 083)


WHY YOU NEED TO MASTER SHORT STORIES BEFORE TRYING NOVELS, HOW NOVICES MIS-USE WITNESS NARRATORS, ORIGINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL REALISM IN SFF







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.











Ghost Summer book trailer



“Danger Word” (Horror Short) starring Frankie Faison and Saoirse Scott

 
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SPOKEN WORD ARTIST, TV STAR, INTEL-NIGERIA SPOKES-POET + CIVIL ENGINEER TITILOPE SONUGA (MF GALAXY 082)


PERFORMING AT PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION, REPPING INTEL-NIGERIA’S SHE WILL CONNECT CAMPAIGN, WHY ARTISTS SHOULD EMBRACE SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY



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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http://www.okayafrica.com/video/nigerian-tv-gidi-up-ndani

Gidi Up, Season 2, Episode 11: Shots Fired

Titilope Sonuga – She Will Connect campaign for Intel Nigeria

Titilope Sonuga at TEDx Edmonton