Marek first became excited about the creative possibilities of the short story as a teenager, watching MTV. This led him unexpectedly to Kafka, whose ability to combine the absurd and the everyday soon became the signature of his own fiction. “At the heart of my stories is always something personal, real and honest that the reader can relate to. Then I add an element of absurdity to reveal something new about these experiences.”
Now recognised as an emerging talent, Marek has published 17 short stories, appeared at literary festivals in the UK and Ireland and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award in 2010.
Of his collection Instruction Manual For Swallowing, Alex Linklater, founder of the National Short Story Prize, says, “Marek writes tales of the fantastic, the grotesque, and the impossible – all set in familiar, even mundane worlds. The effect may be unnerving or moving or hilarious, but always there is the gripping sense of an idea gestating to a point just short of revelation. In this debut collection, the English short story receives an injection of something new, compelling and spooky”.
While originality is always Marek’s touchstone – and he loves to play with interesting conflations of disparate things – it is never done at the expense of clarity and entertainment. “For me,” he insists, “the audience is everything”.