The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences congratulates our 2020 Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing winners, Ray Newby and Aliya Rahman. These students have tied for first prize in the competition.
The Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing was established in 2012 by Judith Freidenberg, Sebastian’s mother, a professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland. The scholarship is awarded in memory of Sebastian, a young aspiring fiction writer, a 1996 graduate of Colby College and a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, who passed away June 20, 2002.
The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and University of Maryland communities join with Professor Freidenberg in celebrating the life and honoring the memory of this talented writer, dedicated scholar, caring family member and loyal friend.
Ray Newby, GVPT/English ’22
First-prize: “Journal for Mrs. Rotburg’s Class”
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunities afforded to me in order to improve my passion and craft, despite the obvious risks of choosing a somewhat uncertain life and career path as a writer. In my university career, I’ve experienced so many useful workshops and interactions with my peers, as well as my professors and visiting artists, that have fueled my continued interest and certainty that this is the path for me, as I continue to try to develop my ability to write both creatively and critically,” Newby said.
Aliya Rahman, English ’22
First prize: “Pretty”
“Representation in all forms of fiction has always been a problem. As a Bangladeshi-Muslim girl, never was I able to read a story or watch a movie where the protagonist was like me. I made a vow that the main character in every one of my stories, whether they be short or long, would be brown, even if it didn’t have anything to do with the actual story,” Rahman said. “When I joined the Jimenez-Porter Writers House here on campus and ended up having to write short story after short story, week after week - I surprised myself by adhering to this rule. All of my protagonists, at the very least, have had brown names. My goal is to slowly diversify the world of fiction, one story at a time. Who knows, maybe if I perused the library when I was 10 and saw a picture of a girl that looked like me on the cover of a book, I would’ve actually picked it up and learned the joy of reading far earlier in life.”