Congratulations to Sree Sen, graduate of the School of English, Drama, Film, who is the winner of the 2020 UCD Maeve Binchy Travel Award. This award, sponsored by the Binchy/Snell family, commemorates Maeve Binchy, her love of travel and her world-celebrated creative writing. The Award, worth €4,000, is open to a UCD humanities student (undergraduate or postgraduate) and was inaugurated in 2014. Previous winners are Henrietta McKervey, John McHugh, Aaron O’Farrell, Ryan Murphy, Rosa Jones and Gráinne Daly. Sree recently graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from UCD and works as a digital content specialist with Skein Press.
Having published poems and short stories, Sree Sen is currently writing a novel: a fictional account of a mother’s search for her kidnapped daughter who ends up being trafficked. The travel award will enable her to research the route from the tea estates of Assam, northeastern India, to the red-light district of New Delhi and maintain an element of authenticity. Sree has worked as a journalist and news producer in India for over a decade, focusing on human-interest stories and features. Here is her account of the project: ‘It was during my reporting stints that I came across the utter destitution of tea estate workers and vulnerability of women and children in those areas. It’s a little-explored issue and a delicate subject matter. The novel focuses on human frailty and hope, even in the face of extreme adversity. Through my book, chronicling the hurdles a mother has to overcome to locate her missing child, I hope to spark a conversation through storytelling. The legacy of Maeve Binchy and her works has been crucial in my understanding of how to navigate the journalistic and fictional aspect of my work, to find the balance in a story.’
The judges of the 2020 award were Niall MacMonagle, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and James Ryan. Congratulating this year’s winner, Professor Margaret Kelleher, Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at UCD and chair of the selection committee, said: ‘We are delighted to celebrate the seventh year of this award, generously supported by Maeve’s husband Gordon Snell. on behalf of her family, to mark her creative legacy. The announcement of the 2020 award was delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis but we look forward to Sree’s being able to travel in coming times. Sree is a very deserving winner of the award and the judges were deeply impressed by her commitment and ambition, and by her talents as a writer.’
For more information on the application process for this year’s competition, please click here.