Writer-in-Residence 2014-15

Minister Faust

WHO IS MINISTER FAUST?
A FIRST?
WHAT HAS HE WRITTEN?

PRESENTING AND TEACHING
SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY: IMHOTEP-HOP
WHAT IS MINISTER FAUST GOING TO WRITE?
WHAT CAN THE WRITER IN RESIDENCE DO FOR ME?
A SPECIAL TREATY 6 INVITATION
WHAT ARE THESE “AUTHORPALOOZAS” I’VE HEARD ABOUT?
WHAT BOOKS CAN TEACH ME HOW TO WRITE?



WHO IS MINISTER FAUST?

Minister Faust is a novelist, print/radio/television journalist, blogger, sketch comedy writer, video game writer, playwright, and poet. He also taught high school and junior high English literature and composition for a decade.

A FIRST?

To the best of his knowledge, Minister Faust is the first Kenyan-Canadian to be appointed writer in residence at any university in the world, and is one of the few African-Canadians to be appointed writer in residence at any Canadian university or college.

WHAT HAS HE WRITTEN?

Novels

The critically-acclaimed author of The Alchemists of Kush and the Kindred Award-winning and Philip K. Dick runner-up Shrinking the Heroes, Minister Faust first achieved literary accolades for his debut novel, The Coyote Kings, which was shortlisted for the Locus Best First Novel, Philip K. Dick, and Compton-Crook awards.

The New York Times Review of Books praised The Coyote Kings for its “jumpy, hold-nothing-back style,” saying that the author “anatomises [Edmonton] with the same loving care Joyce brought to early-20th-century Dublin…. fresh and stylish entertainment.”

The National Post called it the “most exciting Canadian debut in decades,” and director Ernest Dickerson (Juice, The Walking Dead, The Wire,) said, “Minister Faust is Samuel Delaney, Harlan Ellison and Ishmael Reed all rolled into one. His writing is biting, insightful and hugely entertaining.” Robert J. Sawyer says, “Minister Faust is a genius.”

Video Games

Minister Faust contributed to BioWare’s Mass Effect 2, co-wrote the Kasumi DLC for Mass Effect 2, and wrote BioWare’s Gift of the Yeti and Maxis’s Darkspore.

Stage Writing and Sketch Comedy

He wrote the play The Wonderful World of Wangari about the Kenyan scientist, feminist, pro-democracy activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai for the Edmonton Sprouts Festival, wrote and performed sketch comedy for Edmonton’s 11:02 Show and Gordon’s Big Bald Head, and wrote and directed the science fiction play The Undiscovered Country for Montreal’s Creations, Etc. when he was 17.

Print Journalism

Minister Faust’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous collections including Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, and his articles have been published widely, including on iO9, and in Adventure Rocketship: Let’s All Go to the Science Fiction Disco, The Globe & Mail, Alberta Views, Unlimited, Vue Weekly, SEE Magazine, the Del Rey Internet Newsletter, and Greg Tate’s Coon Bidness.

Radio and Television

A former national television host and associate producer, Minister Faust also hosted and produced Canada’s longest-running global African news and public affairs programme, Africentric Radio (originally The Terrordome) between 1991 and 2012, for which he interviewed luminaries such as Tariq Ali, Molefi Kete Asante, Martin Bernal, Noam Chomsky, Chuck D., Austin Clarke, Angela Davis, Karl Evanzz, Tom Fontana, Glen Ford, Nalo Hopkinson, Reginald Hudlin, Ice-T, Janine Jackson, Michael Parenti, Ishmael Reed, Gil Scott-Heron, Vandana Shiva, David Simon, Scott Taylor, and many more.

As a radio and print journalist, he has gone as far as the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, DC, and to the Ain-al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, to collect stories and hear directly from people living and making history.

In 2007-8, he also hosted and associate produced HelpTV, Canada’s highest-rated live national daily programme produced outside Toronto, and for two seasons was a celebrity judge on Book TV’s 3 Day Novel Contest. He also freelanced for CBC’s OutFront and DNTO.

PRESENTING AND TEACHING

Minister Faust has taught at Shared Worlds and the prestigious Clarion West (the leading science fiction and fantasy residential writing workshop in the world), and presented at the Science Fiction Research Association Conference (Detroit, 2012), at Georgia Tech on the topic of Afrofuturism, Imhotep-Hop, and Canada’s national journey of multiculturalism, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Afrofuturism and the meaning of Funkadelic’s Mothership, and at many other locations.

He also presented “The Cure for Death by Smalltalk” at the 2011 TEDx Edmonton on the importance of questions and stories in genuine conversation.

Having taught English literature and composition in Edmonton junior high and high schools for a decade, Minister Faust later worked as mentor and trainer for the Keshotu Leadership Academy, an Africentric organisation whose manual he also wrote.

He took his English and Education degrees in the previous millennium at the University of Alberta with a focus on creative writing.

SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY: IMHOTEP-HOP

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science writes, “Since 1960s, Afrodiasporic authors including Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Minister Faust have become luminaries within the SF community.”

Minister Faust refers to his sub-genre of writing as Imhotep-Hop, an Africentric literature that draws from myriad ancient African civilisations, explores present realities, and imagines a future in which people struggle not only for justice, but for the stars.

WHAT IS MINISTER FAUST GOING TO WRITE WHILE HE’S THE WRITER IN RESIDENCE?

Minister Faust is currently finishing his politically satirical War & Mir trilogy, and will be focusing on screenplays and graphic novels during his residency.

WHAT CAN THE WRITER IN RESIDENCE DO FOR ME?

The writer in residence has a duty to help members of the public learn more about how to write, whether they have no idea how to start or have already published or produced many works.

You can book a session with Minister Faust by emailing him at ministerfaust@ualberta.ca.

His office hours are Mondays, 1:30 to 5:30 pm, and Fridays, 9 am to 12 noon.

A SPECIAL TREATY 6 INVITATION

As a settler on Treaty 6 land, Minister Faust expresses his gratitude to the Cree Nation for the privilege of working and living in Edmonton, and encourages all First Nation, Metis, and Inuit writers (budding or professional) to consult with him on their writing.

All writers, regardless of background or identity, are welcome.

WHAT ARE THESE “AUTHORPALOOZAS” I’VE HEARD ABOUT?

Throughout his residency, Minister Faust will be hosting four literary salons called Authorpaloozas. Writers from various forms (novels, journalism, plays, songs, poems, comedy, graphic novels, and video games) will read from their work and/or be interviewed by Minister Faust live onstage during each Authorpalooza, and offer works for sale afterward.

WHAT BOOKS CAN TEACH ME HOW TO WRITE?

For anyone who’s completed at least one novel and is at any career stage (from unpublished or to a many publications), Minister Faust strongly recommends Chris Roerden’s Don’t Murder Your Mystery: 24 Fiction-Writing Techniques to Save Your Manuscript from Turning Up DOA (Bella Rosa Books).

Don’t Murder Your Mystery is an acclaimed writing manual from an editor with decades of experience in the publishing industry, featuring entertaining examples and clear instructions on what can go wrong in a novel and how to make it right. Any novelist, regardless of genre (one doesn’t have to be a mystery writer) or career stage, can benefit from Roerden’s fun and educational text.

Minister Faust says that writers in any form should learn from writers in all other forms. Novelists in particular, he argues, have much to learn from journalists and screenwriters. And so….

For screenplay writers, Minister Faust recommends the irreverent Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! (Simon and Schuster) by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, and Save the Cat! and Save the Cat! Strikes Back by Blake Snyder.

Both books are by screenwriters with actual success in Hollywood. Writing Movies for Fun and Profit offers helpful writing advice, but is better suited to understanding the career of Hollywood screenwriters; Snyder’s books are detailed and demystifying instruction manuals on how to write commercial screenplays.




Email: ministerfaust@ualberta.ca

His office hours are:
Mondays 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 noon