Friday, July 22, 2016

U of Alberta writers-in-residence interviews: Minister Faust (2014-15)

For the sake of the fortieth anniversary of the writer-in-residence program (the longest lasting of its kind in Canada) at the University of Alberta, I have taken it upon myself to interview as many former University of Alberta writers-in-residence as possible [see the ongoing list of writers here]. See the link to the entire series of interviews (updating weekly) here.

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.

He was writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta during the 2014-15 academic year.

Q: When you began your residency, you’d already produced fiction, plays, stage writing and sketch comedy, as well as video games. Where did you feel you were in your writing? What did the opportunity mean to you?

A: I was comfortable with my writing and I appreciated the opportunity to teach people, which I had done for ten years.

Q: What do you feel your time as writer-in-residence at University of Alberta allowed you to explore in your work? Were you working on anything specific while there, or was it more of an opportunity to expand your repertoire?

A: I had the chance to plan and research several projects, and spent a great deal of time working with local writers on meeting their goals, as well as promoting local artists through the Authorpaloozas and launching MF GALAXY to talk with writers about the business and craft of writing.

Q: Were there any encounters that stood out?

Everyone stood out. One person I’d like to mention Tweeted that he was grateful for all the help I’d given him on his story, which had gotten published. My advice was, “Don’t change a word.”

Q: Was this your first residency?

A: Yes.

Q: The bulk of writers-in-residence at the University of Alberta have been writers from outside the province. As an Edmonton-based writer, how did it feel to be acknowledged locally through the position?

A: I strongly appreciated the opportunity to work with local writers to help them build their skills and their reach, and to publicize the outstanding literary community we have here.

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