Born in 1963 in the German vinelands of Rhineland-Palatine, Marcus Speh went to a school where he had to learn Latin and Ancient Greek, served in the army as a paratrooper, trained as a sniper, studied physics in Germany, fell in love in Dutch and Spanish, helped create the World-Wide Web, worked for multi-national corporations, lived in Italy, England and New Zealand, trained as a psychotherapist, got married and divorced and married again, and finally returned to Germany where he lives now, teaching at a business school as a tenured professor of information systems and researching online learning.
Speh wanted to be a writer since he learnt to write at age four, put that idea on ice for a good long time (with regularly recurring periods of grief and self-loathing over not writing), broke away from the normal life of a non-writer at age 38, published his first story online with the then brand new literary e-zine Metazen in 2009 using the nom de plume Finnegan Flawnt, went on publishing more than 100 short stories in various venues, was nominated for a Micro Award, two Pushcart Prizes, two Best of the Net awards and two Million Writers Awards, was shortlisted for The Reader Berlin's short story competition, and longlisted for the Paris Literary Prize.
What his wife, the American artist Carlye Birkenkrahe, once said about his pseudonym may be true for Speh as well: “I think knowing Finnegan Flawnt is like winning the super lottery. He makes me think of a sky full of stars in the desert where there are no lights to interfere. He’s like finding the perfect shade of nail polish right after you’ve been offered the only job you ever really wanted at a salary you never dreamed possible. He’s like a complimentary all you can eat buffet that has papaya, oysters, Russian caviar, lobster, crab, zabaglione, and mountains of dark chocolate. He’s like finding your favourite earring in a really strange place after you’d given up on it.”
Speh is an active member of several writing communities, has an avatar in the virtual world of Second Life, blogs fiercely and always has a new project running, like the now legendary Kaffe in Katmandu, or the 100 Days And Nights 1000 Years ago. Despite his strong virtual presence, which has generated doubts if he exists at all, Speh maintains a body on the physical plane and is a devoted father and husband. He lives with his family in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg, near a large selection of fine coffee houses and writers. They have no pets since their hamster died.
Speh’s fiction tends to be speculative rather than realistic, but it is at the core existential: what interests him most are relationships, growth, and how to deal with love, life and death.
After Thank You For Your Sperm, Speh’s next book is a mosaic novel to be published by Folded Word. Besides translating his English fiction into his native German, and giving interviews, he’s keeping busy with a new collection of short stories and hopes to finish another novel real soon.
Marcus Speh's book, Thank You For Your Sperm, is available from MadHat Press.