Renate Schiansky from Austria is our first prize winner of 2018 EISSC. Her story ”Overweight” won the prize and this is her ”luggage” (theme of the contest) for holidays in Crete next summer – but she now has to answer to our questions about her life, her travels and her writings
How does it feel to be the winner of our 8th international short story contest?
fantastic! It feels absolutely great. I have taken part in some competitions before and now and again made it to some top ranking place but never before won a writing contest. To be the winner of the EISSC really means a lot to me, it is appreciation of my work as well as motivation to carry on.
How did you hear about the contest?
I came across the contest on a platform for authors; I think it was wortmagier.de
When did you start writing?
as a teenager. I started to write stories when I was about 12 years old.
Renate Schiansky was born in Vienna in Feb. 1959 to a tram worker and a toy shop sectretary. Married Chris in 1982 and moved to the small village of Seebenstein in 1992 2 childen (Peter, 27, physicist and guitar player in a rock band; and Christine, 24, an artist, illustrator and photographer) Divorced 2004, moved back to Vienna in 2012. Worked as a legal advisor for the departement of youth for 18 years. Currently living together with Reinhard, a university lecturer and private pilot. Loves books and can´t spend a day without reading. interested in history and politics, art & culture, music from classical to hard rock, languages; loves travelling, ships and boats, trains and planes, cardriving and bikeriding. Collects travel guides, roadmaps and language courses. Writing stories has always been her passion, she has been writing stories ever since the age of 12, but only after a severe illness in 2009 decided to make a go for it and published her first book in 2010; “Stacheldraht und weisse Margeriten” “13 – phantastische Geschichten” followed in 2017, as well as “Carla das Chamäleon” — children´s rhymes, illustrated by “freowyn” (Christine Schiansky); an English translation will be issued in 2019. Some of her stories appeared in anthologies or literature magazines and she is currently working on her third short story collection as well as on 2 bilingual (English – Spanish) books; one for adults and one for children, in co-operation with Gita Escobar from Cuba and freowyn as illustrator.
Have you seen your work published or your stories shortlisted /win a prize before?
when I was 16 or so, I had one of my stories published in a newspaper; it was a creativity contest and with my story I won a 5 day stay at a lake in southern Austria.
I have always been writing but for many years it was mainly for the drawer. Only after a severe illness in 2009 I somehow realized life will not last forever and that time is too precious to not do the things you really want to do. So I started to take writing really serious and in 2010 published my first book, “Stacheldraht und weisse Margeriten”, a collection of 10 short stories.
“13 – phantastische Geschichten” followed, and also “Carla Chameleon”, a children´s book, illustrated by freowyn (my wonderful creative daughter Christine)
The books are all in German but we are currently working on an English translation of “13” as well as of “Carla”
You wrote a brilliant story. What was the inspiration for ‘’Overweight’’?
some years ago, my daughter and I went on a holiday to Scotland. We rent a car and drove around the country, and in almost every village and town, we stumbled over and into at least one charity book shop. We bought books by the score and on our last day had to repack thrice and still ended up wearing almost all our clothes on our flight back home because they would not fit into our suitcases any more.
Have you ever been in Greece before?
Not yet, no. We had planned and even already booked holidays on Crete in September 2017 but had to cancel because my partner fell ill. So all the more, we are looking forward to our stay in Triopetra!
What are your plans for the future?
following my two passions in life: writing and traveling, as far as time and money will allow me to. My retirement is due in February what will at least provide me with the first. For the latter, we will just have to wait and see
Are you already dreaming of your holidays in Crete?
definitely YES! I do already possess travel guides and even started to learn a few sentences of Greek in 2017 … but of course forgot most of it again. Yet there is still a lot of time until our stay in Triopetra, so I hope to dig deeper into the language now and also learn more about the islands history and culture. Crete will be a wonderful thing to look forward to during winter!