Mary Clark is the winner of the 2021 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, selected by Rumaan Alam. The winning story “Steppie” looks at a woman’s love for children and also her chosen childlessness, a mix that’s sometimes hard for her to square. Mary pulled almost all of that short story from a chapter in her recent novel manuscript.
In an interview with Crazyhorse, she talks about the inspiration for her prizewinning story.
Mary grew up in Baltimore City, and after walking away from her corporate career, she returned to live there and work exclusively on writing novels. She earned and MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has published her poems and short stories in literary magazines.
Her novel manuscripts are lyrically voiced, big stories, suspenseful, and political, with love affairs at their core. She goes toward difficult subjects. The long form allows for the scope to include the social culture surrounding characters, widening the frame, and inviting readers to struggle with the messiness of life.