Friday, February 17, 2012

Mark Krieger Wins Sixth Annual
Danahy Fiction Prize

Mark Krieger of West Bend, Wisconsin, has been selected as winner of the sixth annual Danahy Fiction Prize by the editors of Tampa Review. He will receive a cash award of $1,000 and his winning short story, “Scar,” will be published in Tampa Review 43/44, forthcoming in summer 2012.

Krieger's fiction has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Tampa Review, Shambhala Sun (nonfiction), KNOCK, and THEMA. Other works have been finalists for the 2010 Narrative Winter Story Contest and the 2009 Danahy Prize.

His education in writing is informal: simply, the countless hours, months, and years he has spent with a pen and his imagination working on the craft, getting feedback from friends, and studying admired works on his own.

“I've never cared much for formal education,” Krieger says. ”I've always been too much of a Huck Finn, a loner, and a bit stubborn. From a very young age, I've always preferred doing things my own way and relying heavily on my instincts. It’s the hardest path, but the best I think.”

He finds it hard to explain the origins of ”Scar.”

“I don't know where the story came from, outside of the research I've done involving hard scrabble street kids and crime in general, ” he says. “It is the darkest story I've ever written. Each time I'd returned to it after letting it sit, I had to fight the moralistic urge to change matters. In short, I wanted to change the ending. But when push came to shove, I found myself emptying office garbage cans and futzing around with the arrangement of my rock collection on my desk. In other words, what is commonly known as writer’s block, I've found to be old trusty instinct letting me know (semi-sarcastically), through immense un-inspiration, to drop the pen and back away from the story. It's done.”

Krieger goes on to say, “Good storytelling, for me, is like dreaming or meditating. It can't be forced. You have to get out of your own way, letting go of agendas and desires and just let the dream come of its own. If you come to the dream and try to push it along lines it doesn't naturally want to follow you'll lose the power of its message.”