The Writers & Illustrators of the Future Gala Awards Ceremony

Coordinating Writer Contest judge David Farland and Writer Contest judge Orson Scott Card announced writer Andrew Dykstal from Arlington, VA as the Grand Prize Golden Pen Award winner while presenting him a check for $5,000. Andrew Dykstal’s winning story, “Thanatos Drive,” was illustrated by Qianjiao Ma.

“Thanatos Drive” is a post-apocalyptic story wherein, Alan Li is struggling to defeat God, but is he following his own will, or is he just another one of God’s puppets?

Coordinating Illustrator Contest judge Echo Chernik and Founding Illustrator Contest judge Bob Eggleton announced illustrator Aliya Chen as the Golden Brush Award winner while presenting her with a check for $5,000. Aliya Chen illustrated writer Elise Stephen’s story, “Untrained Luck.” Her art depicts the two main characters: Mag and a rescued boy named Lio. Aliya is the Contest’s first Chinese grand prize winner.

This year, the gala took place at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood on Friday evening, April 5, 2019. The grand red carpet and garden featured a 16-foot robot inspired by the latest anthology’s cover art by Bob Eggleton. The entire evening featured the theme of retro robotics.

The invitation-only black-tie awards event was streamed live. The gala began with tray passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, followed by a delectable Mediterranean four-course meal and the awards show, followed a book signing and reception in the plush foyer of the Taglyan.

Andrew Dykstal, winner of the Grand Prize Writer’s Award, said: “This is absolutely fantastic! I feel that my career as a writer has now been catapulted. It’s a tremendous honor to be here. The quality of the stories of my fellow writers in this contest is amazing. Having the opportunity as I have for this past week in workshops networking and learning from authors I grew up reading, and whom continue to influence and inspire me, has been an experience I will never forget.”

Aliya Chen, winner of the Grand Prize Illustrator’s Award, said: “I didn’t expect this at all. I’m overwhelmed and very grateful! Winning this Grand Prize Award is validation for me that illustration, which is a passion for me, doesn’t have to be limited to a hobby, but it’s definitely possible as a career. I also feel God has opened these doors for me. My twin sister, Felicia, who is also an illustrator like myself, is the person who actually learned of the Illustrators of the Future Contest and encouraged me to enter. We are both supportive of one another, and for that reason we both didn’t enter the competition at the same time. This is a moment in my life I will never forget!”

Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. said, “This year, our fourth quarter illustrator 2018 winner, Alice Wang, became the youngest winner to ever enter our contests and win, at the age of 15. Submissions for our Writers and Illustrator Contests over the last 35 and 30 years respectively, have come from over 175 countries. This year we had four quarterly winners from England, more than ever before in one year. Selecting the two Grand Prize Winners from thousands of contest entries submitted annually is not an easy process.”

The awards show opened with sci-fi stomp and body percussion dance featuring ROV-E, a Mars Rover Robot Prototype from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and dancers from EmCirque, a world-renowned aerobatics and dance troupe.

Event master of ceremonies, Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. introduced keynote speaker, Ed Hulse, an award-winning journalist and historian who specializes in documenting American popular culture of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Ed Hulse’s address included, “These storytellers all contributed mightily to the evolution of Science Fiction. And now you’re part of that evolution. You represent a new generation of writers, alternately building upon and superseding literary traditions now more than a century old. Yours are the ideas and concepts that will shape Science Fiction for years to come. I look forward to seeing how you’ll respond to the challenge of making science fiction relevant to the readers of tomorrow.”

Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. presented the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Eggleton, a Founding Judge of the Illustrators of the Future Contest, and winner of many awards, including 9 Hugo Awards and 11 Chelsey Awards.

John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press, unveiled the 35th volume of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future featuring the work of the 12 new authors and 12 new illustrators from this year’s contests. Edited by David Farland, with cover artwork by Bob Eggleton, the book also features stories and articles written by renowned writers and illustrators, Dean Wesley Smith, Rebecca Moesta, Mike Resnick, Echo Chernik and L. Ron Hubbard. The new anthology is now available throughout the United States from Amazon.com, BN.com, BAM.com, in Barnes & Noble stores, Books A Million, or at GalaxyPress.com

Awards for each of the quarterly finalists of the Writers and Illustrators Contests were presented by actors Kate Linder, Lee Purcell, Sean Cameron Michael, Ernest Pierce, and Phil Proctor, along with renowned judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

This year’s 12 quarterly award winners of the Writers’ Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies. They included: Kyle Kirrin of Creede, CO, Preston Dennett of Reseda, CA, Kai Wolden of Eden Prairie, MN, David Cleden of Fleet, Hampshire, UK, Rustin Lovewell of Gaithersburg, MD, Carrie Callahan Bardstown, KY, Elise Stephens of Seattle, WA, Christopher Baker of Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK, Mica Scott Kole of Westland, MI, Andrew Dykstal of Arlington, VA, Wulf Moon of Sequim, WA, and John Haas Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

This year’s 12 quarterly award winners of the Illustrating Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies. They included: Emerson Rabbitt of Minneapolis, MN, Vytautas Vasiliauskas of Paris, France, Yinying Jiang of Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK, Alexander Gustafson of Essex Junction, VT, Christine Rhee of San Francisco, CA, Sam Kemp of Birmingham, West Midlands, England, Allen Morris of Cleveland, MS, Jennifer Ober of Atlanta, GA, Josh Pemberton of Seattle, WA, Qianjiao Ma of Arcadia, CA, Alice Wang of Bellevue, WA, and Aliya Chen of Fair Oaks, CA.

Dr. Beatrice Kondo, daughter of the late Writers of the Future Judge, Dr. Yoji Kondo, and a member of the Heinlein Society Board of Directors, presented Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. with a letter of recognition. The Heinlein Society is devoted to the study and promotion of the late American Science Fiction author Robert A. Heinlein. During her presentation, Dr. Kondo said, “L. Ron Hubbard established the Writers of the Future contests as a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged. On behalf of the Heinlein Society and issued by its President and Chairman, George E. Rule, I would like to present a letter of recognition to L. Ron Hubbard and his enduring Contest on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary.”

Event attendees also included 23 world-renowned writer and illustrator contest judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The 15 Writer judges in attendance included: Kevin J. Anderson, Dr. Doug Beason, Dr. Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, David Farland, Eric Flint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Jody Lynn Nye, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, Tim Powers, Dr. Robert J. Sawyer, and Dean Wesley Smith. The eight illustrator judges included: Echo Chernik, Lazarus Chernik, Bob Eggleton, Larry Elmore, Dr. Laura Freas Beraha, Val Lakey Lindahn, Sergey Poyarkov, and Rob Prior.

In the 35 years of the Writers of the Future Contest, there have been 416 winners and 80 published finalists. The 416 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies.

In the 30 years of the Illustrators of the Future Contest, there have been 346 winners. The 346 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 6,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 624 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 68 television shows and 40 major movies.

 

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