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Mario Marčinko


First Language(s): German
Second Language(s): English, Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian


Born as the youngest of three children to Croatian parents and raised in a small town in Tyrol, I grew up bilingually and biculturally. Keen on languages and cultures during my school days, I moved to Graz after my time in Tyrol, to study Transcultural Communication. Following my Bachelor’s degree, I switched to my Master’s in English and American Studies.


What was your favorite book as a child?

While I didn’t have one particular book which I adored as a child, I remember reading tons of “Die Knickerbocker-Bande” by the Austrian author Thomas Brezina. The basic premise of this really long series of individual books is a quartet of kids solving mysteries all on their own. While I basically read everything I could get my hands on as a child, the charm of those books specifically was the pervading aura of mystery throughout every single piece, and the virtually endless variety which such a premise can offer to readers with consistent effect and quality. Once the focus of my binge-reading switched to the many works of Stephen King in my teens, that very sense of mystery was supplemented by a certain grim realism which I felt made that core concept complete.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

I’ve always been naturally curious about many things since I was a kid. I imagined adventures in the most basic everyday situations. Taking into account my bilingual upbringing, with a penchant for the English language, I didn’t really put my linguistic/cultural and creative interests to use outside of the school environment. Only at the most random point during my first study path I arbitrarily began to organize and keep my ideas in a word document. Not long afterwards, I finally brought myself around to shape my fantasies into full-blown short stories. I would say that I’ve always had a reason to write creatively, but the motivation needed to catch up.

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

I’ve generally led a pretty calm life until now, though I had several experiences – especially since moving to a bigger place for my studies and starting to travel more than before – which I see as rich sources for inspiration. Coincidentally, the experience I see as the most thrilling is a fairly recent one: Driving a quad through the sands of Egypt with my girlfriend. While there was a sufficient amount of organization and safety planning involved in the tour, the feeling of freedom while rushing through the dust of the desert on high speeds was certainly an undertaking I won’t forget so easily.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

I tend to write my stories in a calm environment, as I usually want to concentrate on organizing my thoughts into a coherent web of something that makes sense. However, every now and then, I temporarily turn on music in the background (which depends on the mood of the scene), inspiring me to write less from my thoughts and more from what I feel. This comes in very handy for scenes which are full of tension and eventfulness. Nevertheless, I stick to focusing on writing, as I have more control over my production that way.


Short Story
The Frontier Incident
Issue Spring '20

Short Story
Train Out of Time
Issue Fall '21

Supported by:

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