The Maureen Donahoe Encouragement Award
The Maureen Donahoe Encouragement Award is given in memory of the late Maureen Donahoe who died in a car accident in 2000. A promising young writer, Maureen’s first entry in the 1998 Young Writers Award was awarded “first runner-up” for her story Blue Stranger. This is partly why the Encouragement award has been created in her honour.
The Maureen Donahoe Encouragement Award is awarded to a story that the judges believe to be a courageous piece of writing, thus reflecting Maureen’s spirit in her own writing.
The Young Writers Award meant a lot to Maureen. She had been working on her story Blue Stranger when she died in a car accident at the age of 21. In a sad coincidence, the theme of Blue Stranger dealt with grief on the loss of a sister. Her family entered the unfinished draft and the judges believed that, even in its unfinished state, this story was better than many of the entries and reflects her “unfinished” life, in which she lived, laughed and was loved more than many who live their “three score years and ten”.
Family was important to Maureen, the youngest of eight children. She shared a love of sailing with her father and spent many winters with family, sailing the Whitsundays in the 43 foot yacht that he built. Her love of travelling took her overseas where she particularly enjoyed the time she spent in Ireland, discovering her family heritage (and Guinness) and in Rome, exploring her spiritual heritage. Maureen graduated from the University of Queensland with a BA in Drama and Literature. She worked at a yacht brokerage, and had plans to build her own yacht and sail it; become a virtuoso guitarist; write, direct, produce and act in plays; finish her novel; and surf.
As a tribute to Maureen, this Encouragement Award is meant for someone, obviously, with great talent – but also with some of the sense of hope and faith that Maureen demonstrated in her life and writing.