Marty Chan has written books, stage plays, radio dramas, television scripts and humour articles. He won the 2005 City of Edmonton Book Prize for this first middle-grade novel, The Mystery of the Frozen Brains and received a Gemini nomination for his TV pilot, The Orange Seed Myth. His plays and TV shows have been seen around the world, but he continues to live and work in Edmonton with his wife Michelle and their two cats, Buddy and Max.
Raised in Morinville – a small town north of Edmonton, Alberta–Marty Chan is a playwright, radio writer, television story editor, and young adult author. Much to the chagrin of his mother, he doesn’t include engineer on his resume. He attended a year of the Engineering Program at the University of Alberta, but received the Dean’s Vacation (a quaint way of saying “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out”).
After a year, Marty returned to the U of A and graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (English Major/Drama Minor). He fell into improv comedy when he joined Edmonton Theatresports, but his paralyzing stage fright resulted in “penguin arm” acting, forcing him to abandon performing and take up writing.
His signature play, Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl, has been produced across Canada, published three times and broadcast as a radio drama. The stage play won an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Best New Work and the Adams Chinese Theatre Award at Harvard University. In October 2004, the play had a successful Off Broadway run in New York.
Marty was a regular contributor to CBC Radio Edmonton from 1994 to 2000. His weekly commentary series, The Dim Sum Diaries, recounted his misadventures as the only Chinese kid in a small prairie town. These weekly commentaries were adapted into a half-hour television program (The Orange Seed Myth) which won a Gold Medal for Best Television Pilot at the Charleston World Film and Television Festival, and earned Marty a Gemini nomination for best writing in a children’s program.
In 2004, Thistledown Press launched Marty’s first young adult novel, The Mystery of the Frozen Brains, which has become a hit with young readers across Canada. Resource Links magazine rated listed it as one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2004 for grades 3 to 6. Another three books in the Marty Chan Mystery Series followed, including The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul, which won the 2007 Diamond Willow Award.
His newest series is The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate, a YA steampunk fantasy novel that pits Harry Houdini and Nikola Tesla against creatures coming from other dimensions.
Marty was the first playwright in residence at the Citadel Theatre. He also served as Chair of the Edmonton Arts Council and taught playwriting at the U of A. He received an Arts Achievement Award and a Performance Award from the City of Edmonton. He also earned a Horizon Award from the University for his contributions to theatre. However, his mother still wishes he stayed in Engineering.
Currently, Marty continues to write novels and plays for audiences young and old. He appears regularly on Alberta Primetime, the news program on CTV 2. He lives in Edmonton with his wife Michelle and their two cats, Buddy and Max.
From the moment he began to speak, he enthralled us with details of his journey to become an author. His interactive presentation style and use of humour made his writing process come alive for the students, and murmurs of “I want to become a writer” could be heard rippling through the audience…pure gold to a teacher’s ears!
Marty told us a story of how his English teacher influenced his decision to become a writer. I truly feel that Marty has become that one person who sparked the interest in many of our students. Thank you for being a difference maker in the lives of our students.
“Amazing presentation – very engaging and though-provoking. Excellent, memorable stories.”
“Excellent storyteller. Very engaging and funny.”
Julie Van Huyse
Our Gr. 3 and 4’s loved his camping stories and especially Bigfoot and Frozen Brain. As one Grade 3 student put it “he was full of suspense and it made me sit on the edge of my seat”. Staff and students alike loved Marty’s fun, informative presentations. I highly recommend booking Marty for your school.