The Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing

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.


Sebastian Herbstein
Sebastian Herbstein

About Sebastian Herbstein
Sebastian Herbstein was born and raised in New York City to Drs. Diego Herbstein and Judith Freidenberg. His family also includes an older brother, Julian; a younger sister, Gabriela; and a stepmother, Roberta.

After graduating from high school in 1992, “Sebi” enrolled at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. There, he was in his element as a scholar, a creative writer and a member of the Xi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. His fraternity brothers fondly remember a friend who found great joy in the simple pleasures of life. He enjoyed spending time with his fraternity brothers, cooking and telling stories.

Sebi also loved to travel. Following graduation from Colby in 1996, he lived in Paris and Tokyo, where he taught English and completed his semi-autobiographical novel.

“The true wonder and greatness of Sebastian Herbstein cannot be conveyed in words. You had to know him to love him,” his mother, Dr. Freidenberg said. “I loved how he told his stories, how his laughter was contagious, how he was able to bring people together as friends. I even loved the fact that he refused to get his hair cut, or that he insisted on wearing corduroys and Doc Martins all summer long.”

Sebastian passed away far too soon in June 2002.

“On behalf of Sebi’s family and friends, I am so pleased that we are able to establish this scholarship fund,” Dr. Freidenberg said. “I am sure that Sebi is pleased as well, and that he is looking down at us and laughing in the way that only he could.”

Read “Just the Parts I Remember,” a work of fiction published by Sebastian Herbstein

Give to the Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing Fund

About The Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing
The Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Scholarship in Fiction Writing will be awarded to an undergraduate student engaged in any major or discipline of study at the University of Maryland who shares Sebastian’s passion for fiction writing and excellence in storytelling.

The Award:
Two cash prizes, $1,000 for first prize and $600 for second prize, will be awarded for works of short fiction of 5,000 words or less. At the discretion of the judges, an honorable mention might also be recognized. In accepting the award, the recipients will provide information on how the monetary prize will be used in pursuit of creative writing. The winning pieces will be posted on the Sebastian Herbstein Memorial Award Website, together with a photograph and short bio of the winners. The award winners may list the honor in her or his resumes.

Award Eligibility:
Quality of submission (GPA and major will not be qualifying criteria) and undergraduate enrollment at the University of Maryland. A previous winner of the award is ineligible for future competition. Students MUST be returning in the Fall 2024 semester to qualify for this award.

Award Application:
Only one entry per applicant will be allowed. The entry should consist of:
1. Name, UID, mailing address, e-mail address, school and program attending;
2. A letter explaining the applicant’s passion for, and experience with, fiction writing, which should include a statement explaining how the applicant might use this award to further his or her writing;
3. A piece of short fiction writing with a five thousand (5,000) word maximum; Entries should be double-spaced, using Times New Roman, 12 pt, black font. Submissions that do not adhere by these style guidelines will not be considered.
4. A color, high-resolution (300 dpi or above) digital photograph of the applicant;
5. Consent to publishing the winning entry, bio and photo on the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences website at Consent is considered to be granted when the application is submitted.
Award Administration:

The 2024 application is now open. Click here to apply. Applications are due by Friday, May 10, 2024 (extended date) at 11:59 PM.

2023-2024 Scholarship Committee:
David Cantor, Ph.D.
Amy Carattini, Ph.D
James Greenberg, Ph.D.
Leigh Ryan, Ph.D.

Questions regarding the scholarships or the application process can be directed to Please include "Herbstein Scholarship" in the subject line when sending an e-mail inquiry.