Meet the Members: Marian O’Shea Wernicke

“I have been humbled by the collegial spirit of the writers I have met in the League.”

— Marian O’Shea Wernicke

A member of the Writers’ League since 2019, Marian lives in southeast Austin.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Marian O’Shea Wernicke: I have written a memoir about my father, and self-published it with Create Space. The title is Tom O’Shea, A Twentieth Century Man: A Daughter’s Search For Her Father’s Story. I write poetry, and now I have my first novel coming out in September of 2020 published by She Writes Press, an independent publisher. The title is Toward That Which Is Beautiful, and it is set in the Altiplano of Peru in the early 60s. I have the first draft of another novel in the process of revision.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

MOW: I’d love to sit on a terrace in Austin and have a gin and tonic with Eudora Welty. I’d ask her about the importance of place in her fiction, how she is able to convey the atmosphere her characters live and breathe in so seamlessly.  I am thinking about her short story, “A Worn Path” especially as well as “June Recital.”

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

MOW: I’d be lucky to have Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love In the Time of Cholera.  Come to think of it, that is a perfect book for right now as we are stranded at home because of this plague. His world is complex yet at the same time so vividly portrayed in sensual detail.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

MOW: I have been humbled by the collegial spirit of the writers I have met in the League.  The speakers I have heard have been encouraging and nurturing to those of us who are just beginning to publish, whatever age we are. There is never a whiff of superiority.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

MOW: I have a historical novel in a first draft based loosely on the life of my Irish great-grandmother, whose story has always intrigued me. It takes place in the 1870s in Ireland and then in the States. Once that book is launched (fingers crossed) I want to return to poetry. Maybe a memoir?

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

MOW: I loved Oscar Casares’s Where We Come From.  I heard him read an excerpt from this at Book People, and his prose is limpidly clear and engaging. I recommend it highly to everyone.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

MOW: To all writers I would say, never give up on your vision for a work.  I had many publishers reject my novel before it was finally accepted, saying that although they liked the story, the characters, and the writing, they just did not see a market for the book. I think too many books are shoved into a niche in order to sell, but not all books fit so tidily. Imagine Flannery O’Connor trying to get published today! Or Walker Percy. If you keep at the work, it will find an audience.

Thank you, Marian!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

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