McKenna “Mack” Marsden’s fiction has appeared in New England Review and Pithead Chapel, and was awarded a 2021 Pushcart Prize for their story “Suffering in Motion.” In 2020 they were awarded a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Grant to work on their first novel.
In an interview with NER staff reader Laur Freymiller, they discussed “Suffering in Motion,” Marsden’s debut story, and their process in writing and publishing it. They shared, “At the time of writing this I was also going through my own gender exploration and I wanted to look at an ungendered relationship with the body. I started writing about someone else other than me and at the end of the process, I realized it wasn’t about someone else after all. . . I wanted to have the feeling of the present moment throughout the piece. Splitting it up into the segments and scenes was a way for me to keep everything in the present. I also wanted to give it sort of a cinematic or photographic feel. When I was younger, I wanted to write graphic novels, and I still love graphic novels. So that has definitely influenced my style.”
They received a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Oregon and have worked as a bookseller, legal secretary, HR person, barista, and EFL teacher in Prague. Marsden is currently based in the DC area pursuing an MFA in Fiction at the University of Maryland-College Park.
Marsden was homeschooled in the mountains of southern Oregon and has lived most of their adult life in greater Boston. They currently reside in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Updated July 2022