Meet Marie Gethins, flash fiction category judge for Hysteria 2017

Marie Gethins is a member of the Flash Fiction judging team for the Hysteria Writing Competition 2017. She lives and works in Cork, Ireland and is a flash fiction and short story writer with many credits to her name who has won or been placed in The Short Story, Tethered by Letters flash, Flash500, Dromineer Literary Festival, The New Writer Microfiction, Prick of the Spindle. She has also had other work listed by some of the UK’s leading writing competitions, the Bristol Short Story Prize, Fish Short Story/Flash/Memoir, James Plunkett Award, Listowel Writers’ Week Originals, Inktears, RTE/Penguin, Molotav Cocktail, Lightship, Doris Gooderson, Over the Edge and WOW! Award . Marie is a Pushcart and Best of the Short Fictions nominee. You can meet Marie on Twitter @MarieGethins.

If you are a writer or poet, how did you get started?

While I liked writing throughout school, I focused on critical analysis, where I felt most comfortable. The English Lit BA at UC Berkeley offered one creative writing module option, which I avoided! Instead, I channeled my creative energies into a separate BA in Dramatic Art/Dance. Careerwise, I’ve been a technical and medical writer for quite a long time, but I also do some travel writing. While travel writing falls into the creative basket as narrative non-fiction, I only ventured into fiction in the spring of 2011. An editor and dear friend gave me the push to give it a try. In fact, he found the first fiction course I took here in Cork at the Munster Literature Centre – he harangued me into applying.

Who would you invite to a literary dinner party?

Oh that’s a tough one! The first people on my list would be my incredibly supportive writer network, starting with my fellow writers’ group members: Danielle McLaughlin, Barbara Leahy, David Brennan, and John Mee. Then the wider circle of those I know only via social media. I am amazed and grateful for the depth of support on Twitter, especially from Flash writers. They champion successes and perhaps even more importantly, provide encouragement when things are not going so well. I’d also invite my fantastic Frank O’Connor mentor, Zsuzsi Gartner, who is so very wise and immensely fun. Then a pretty long list of awe-inspiring pedestal authors who I know or I’ve been fortunate enough to meet: Neil Hegarty, Paula McGrath, Henrietta McKervey, Kevin Barry, Lisa McInerney, Colin Barrett, Tania Hershman, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Colm Tóibín, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, George Saunders, Tobias Wolff…and those I wish I could meet: Kathy Fish, Amy Hempel, Etgar Keret, David Constantine, Stuart Dybek, Lydia Davis…I think the table is getting pretty crowded!

Are there some themes you enjoy more than others?

I am attracted to dark themes, which I think lend themselves to complexity. Happy, pretty stories are not that interesting. I also enjoy humorous stories, which can be very tough to get right.

What are you reading currently?

I have a towering TBR pile and tend to dip in and out of several books simultaneously. Currently I am enjoying Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, Alan McMonagle’s Ithaca, and Paula McGrath’s upcoming novel A History of Running Away.

Which genre of writing do you prefer and why?

 Social commentary, relationship stories told from an unusual  perspective, magical realism and modern fairy tales all interest me. However any strong, well-crafted writing that surprises me is great. 

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