Mat Johnson is the author of the novels Loving Day, Pym, Drop, and Hunting in Harlem, the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot, and the comic books Incognegro and Dark Rain. He is a recipient of the United States Artist James Baldwin Fellowship, The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature.
Mat Johnson is a Professor at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.
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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 ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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