2019 Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing.

First Place: Jessica Pajak

Second Place (tied): Lauren Cain and Kian Kelley-Chung

Jessica Pajak

Jessica Pajak ’20, English Language and Literature

“For as long as I can remember, I have always been captivated by the craft of writing fiction. As a young child learning to read and write, I authored a plethora of handwritten short stories, self-published and bound with colorful construction paper covers. Through the writing of these tales, I was able to broaden my understanding of written communication and plant the seed for what would grow to become a lifelong passion for writing. As I got older, I delved eagerly into the world of high fantasy, spending my free time constructing complex and highly ambitious epics which, although challenging, I greatly enjoyed. Recently, I have become extremely interested in all things science fiction and have taken to writing stories concerning hypothetical scenarios of technological advancement.”
Read Jessica Pajak winning entry, “First Day on the Job.”

Lauren Cain

Lauren Cain ’19, Criminology and Criminal Justice major and Global Terrorism Studies minor

“When I was a girl, I would write pages and pages of nonsense stories in spiral bound notebooks. I invented stories about girls like myself and the situations I knew I’d never find myself in. I used to dream through paper and pencil, but as I got older I had less time and less imagination. It wasn’t until I was prompted to write a piece of non-fiction for an honors seminar in college that I remembered how much I used to love filling those spiral notebooks with stories without a real reason other than to write for the sake of writing.”

Read Lauren Cain’s second-prize entry, “Blind Justice.” 

Kian Kelley-Chung

Kian Kelley-Chung ’19, English major and Creative Writing and African American Studies minors

“For me, storytelling is more than a passion. It is a mechanism of catharsis, of spiritual liberation, of democracy and character building. It is an art form that transcends barriers. Stories are like water, in that they have substance, volume, but can take many different shapes. The same story can be told as a novel, as a graphic novel, as a show, as a movie, as a video game and be uniquely compelling in each form. For that reason, the story becomes the strongest piece in media, not the medium itself. Having that power to maneuver through so many different art forms by mastering one is what inspired me to hone my skills and pursue a career as a writer.”

Read Kian Kelley-Chung’s second-prize entry, “75 Degrees.