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David Herbst


First Language(s): German
Second Language(s): English, Spanish, Japanese


David Herbst is a former student of English and American Studies at the University of Graz, currently pursuing a degree in Graphic Design. Born and raised in Austria, he already started concocting stories in his head at a young age. Predominantly inspired by Gothic fiction, David focuses on all things dark and macabre in past as well as upcoming projects.


What was your favorite book as a child?

I believe the first book I recall reading was this infamous collection of fairy tales by the so-called Grimm Brothers. Naturally, it was heavily edited to conform to standards of thetime, but this now 50-odd-year-old version of their stories still contained fragments of the once twisted tales with morbid moralities they once used to be. I don’t know what this says about my character but even back then I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, accompanying the characters on their trails of misery, suffering with them, and finally rejoicing at the occasional happy ending. I’d say this collection considerably influenced my appreciation of later favourites such as Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death plus sequels.

What was the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

I always loved being creative and coming up with stories when I was young. I’d make up scenarios in my head and then figure out how to play with them, how to complicate them, how to resolve them. However, as I grew older, my desire to create gave way to reading and experiencing others’ stories and it wasn’t until I started studying at university and meeting so many amazingly talented people that my passion for creation reignited. It felt like I finally found the voice my stories longed for, so that they can be shared with others at last.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

I think the most thrilling thing I did was embracing who I am as a person. I was always quite introverted and kept to myself for the most part. Not because I was afraid of the social interactions themselves, but because I was self conscious about my interests and the impressions they might leave on others. I liked books and games more than I liked sports and partying, which wasn’t really the consensus in my social circle at the time. Over the years, I’ve gradually learned that there’s really no shame in being yourself and doing what brings you joy. This continuous journey has been both thrilling and frightening at times but at the end of the day, the desire to be yourself should always be greater than the need to fit in.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

I almost always listen to some form of ambient music when I write. Anything from light nature sounds to sinister compositions goes. It really helps me set the mood and atmosphere for stories in my head before I bring them to paper (or screen). At the same time, I feel like they don’t restrict me in my creative process due to the inherent lack of structures or rhythms. Whenever I listen to music that has recurring patterns I get the feeling these repetitions reflect in my writing. And who likes repetitive stories?


Moonlight Shimmers
Issue Fall '23

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz