Saraswat's novel traces a family curse from Hindu mythological times as it weaves through generations of one family. The curse is tied to the well-known story of how the Hindu god Ganesha got his elephant head, and so Saraswat plans to use the $800 grant to travel to elephant sanctuaries to research the relationship between elephants and their caretakers.
The Travel Grant judges said of Saraswat's entry, "The excerpt contains unusual, resonant conflict, well-drawn characters, and a solid mythic feel with overtones of magic realism. The swift narrative is engaging and entertaining. We definitely want more of the story." Excerpts of her novel have recently won her a residency at Writers Omi at Ledig House and the 2012 Writers's Room of Boston Ivan Gold Fellowship in Fiction. She teaches creative writing at Grub Street, Inc, including a workshop in Magical Realism.
Also shortlisted were: Richard Larson, Monica Byrne, Bonnie-Ann Lynch Black, Maureen McGuirk, Rion Scott, and David Sullivan, for their excellent and thought-provoking submissions, which made the selection of the eventual winner a difficult but enjoyable process.
The Gulliver Travel Research Grant is awarded to assist a writer of speculative fiction in his or her research. As in previous years, the grant is to be used to cover airfare, lodging, and/or other expenses relating to the research for a project of speculative fiction. The grant is awarded by a committee of Speculative Literature Foundation members on the basis of interest and merit.The grant is named after Gulliver, a character in the 1726 story "Gulliver's Travels" written by Jonathan Swift. The story represents one of the earliest examples of fantasy travel.