Described as "cultural rocket fuel" by Vanity Fair
, Vivek Shraya is a multi-media artist whose art, music, novels, and poetry and children's books explore the beauty and the power of personal and cultural transformation. How to Fail as a Popstar is Vivek's debut theatrical work, a one-person show that chronicles her journey from singing in shopping malls to "not quite" pop music superstardom with beguiling humor and insight. A reflection on the power of pop culture, dreams, disappointments, and self-determination, this astonishing work is a raw, honest, and hopeful depiction of the search to find one's authentic voice.
The book includes color photographs from the show's 2020 production in Toronto, and a foreword by its director Brendan Healy.
Vivek Shraya is the author of the young-adult collection God Loves Hair, the novels The Subtweet and She of the Mountains, the poetry book even this page is white, the graphic novel Death Threat, and the children's picture book (with Rajni Perera) The Boy & the Bindi (all published by Arsenal Pulp Press), as well as I'm Afraid of Men and What I Love About Being QUEER. Her first play How to Fail as a Popstar premiered at Canadian Stage in Toronto in 2020. She is editor of the Arsenal Pulp Press imprint VS. Books, dedicated to work by new and emerging Black or Indigenous writers, or writers of colour. Originally from Edmonton, she lives in Calgary, where she is an assistant professor in the University of Calgary's Department of English. Brendan Healy is a theater director whose credits include the premiere production of Vivek Shraya's How to Fail as a Popstar at Canadian Stage in Toronto in 2020. He is a regular instructor at the National Theatre School of Canada.