Mat Johnson was born and raised in Philadelphia, and has lived most of his life elsewhere. He is the author of several novels and graphic novels including Drop, Hunting in Harlem, and Incognegro. Johnson is a faculty member at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program and lives in Texas with his wife and children.
This biography was last updated on 03/22/2011.
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Mat Johnson is a bit of a renaissance man: an author of non-fiction, novels and comic books, including his well-received graphic novel Incognegro and John Constantine: Hellblazer, Papa Midnite. His most recent book is Pym, a modern take on Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which is described by the New York Times as "relentlessly entertaining." Johnson took a few moments to answer questions about his ground-breaking novel and more.
You're a guy who really gets around: novels, nonfiction, graphic novels, everything. What's the secret of getting so much stuff done?
Utter fear of dying without accomplishing anything - I find that helps. Also, debt. Debt is a real motivator. And three kids. You add three kids to the whole debt thing and wow, you're writing like crazy. Add to that no other marketable skills, and we are talking a total recipe for success here.
Obviously you have some wide interests. What were you like as a kid? Where did you grow up? What shaped your interests?
I was a white looking black kid in a black neighborhood in Philly during the height of the black power movement. So I stayed inside a lot and read. Mostly comic books where I could fantasize about being powerful and ...
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