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Thirty-fifth annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards Gala announced to be held Friday, April 4, at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood

Andrew Dykstal and Aliya Chen Announced as Grand Prize Winners of the 35th Annual Writers of the Future

Andrew Dykstal, a writer from Arlington, VA, has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the 35th Annual Writers of the Future, and Aliya Chen, an illustrator from Fair Oaks, CA has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the 30th Annual Illustrators of the Future L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in the genres of Science Fiction & Fantasy held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood, CA on Friday evening, April 5, 2019. A capacity crowd of 400 people attended the Black-Tie GALA. Presented by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press, the theme for the two-hour awards show was Retro Robotics.

John Goodwin, President of Galaxy Press, said: “This year marks a historic milestone in our contests with simultaneous benchmark anniversaries, the 35th Anniversary of our Writer’s Contest and, at the same time, the 30th Anniversary of our Illustrators Contest. This year was also groundbreaking for another reason, in that, Aliya Chen made history becoming our first Chinese Grand Prize Winner ever selected in either of our competitions.” This year’s event was an Invitation Only Black-Tie GALA which was streamed live via the website, www.writersofthefuture.com, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. PST on Friday evening, April 5, 2019.

Andrew Dykstal, The 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. I have made new friends for life. 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, The 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.”

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

Coordinating Illustrator Contest Judge Echo Chernik and Fellow Illustrator Judge Bog 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.”

The awards show was held in the visually opulent Grand Ballroom of the Taglyan Cultural Complex nestled in the heart of Hollywood. Catered by Divine Food, the GALA began with tray passed Hor 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.

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 EM Cirque, a world-renowned aerobatics and dance troupe.

Event Emcee, 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. 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 literary awards, including nine 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 award-winning new authors and 12 award-winning new illustrators from this year’s contests. Edited by David Farland, with cover artwork by Bob Eggleton, the book also features stories written by renowned writers and illustrators, Dean Wesley Smith, Rebecca Moesta, Mike Resnick, Echo Chernick 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

In his Keynote Address, Ed Hulse talked about the Golden Age of Science Fiction and post World War II, with a veritable explosion in pulp magazines. Hulse said, “The Golden Age of Science Fiction isn’t a relic of the past. It has seeped into our popular culture in myriad ways. The Galactic Empires of Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series were foremost in the mind of George Lucas when he conceived ‘Star Wars,’ and Doc Smith’s ‘Lensmen’ were among the influences of his Jedi knights. In the first film’s famous bar scene, he even lifted a sequence from L. Ron Hubbard’s story ‘The Kingslayer’ virtually word for word. Van Vogt’s mutant ‘Slans’ were forerunners of Marvel’s ‘X-Men.’ Countless popular motion pictures and television shows have adapted classic Golden Age pulp yarns, officially and unofficially.”

Hulse continued, “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.”

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 Awards Winners of the Writing 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 Awards Winners of the Illustrating Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies. They included: Emerson Rabbitt of Minneapolis, MN, Vytautas V (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.”

In addition to celebrity and distinguished judge awards presenters, other VIPS in attendance at the event included: Elizabeth Fuller, Kary English, Martin Shoemaker, Jim Meskimen, Tamara Meskimen, Jennifer O’Dell, Phire Whitaker, Gino Montesinos, Daniel Kotto, Edwin Gagliano, Monica Wiela, Gene Rurka, Kelton Jones, Skip Harris and Jeff Rector. Some Renowned Former Writer and Illustrator of the Future winners were also in attendance, including: Dean Wesley Smith (1985 – Volume 1), Nini Kiriki Hoffman (1985 – Volume 1), David Farland (1987 – Volume 3), Sergei Poyarkov (1991 – Volume 7), Dr. Nnedi Okorafor (2002 – Volume 18), Brian C. Hailes (2002 – Volume 18), Darci Stone (2018 – Volume 34), Eric James Stone (2004 – Volume 20 and 2005 – Volume 21) and Eric Flint (1993 – Volume 9).

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, Timothy Thomas “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.

Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling Science Fiction novel, “Battlefield Earth,” written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest (www.writersofthefuture.com) in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The annual Contests draw entrants from around the globe and are free to enter. Winners retain full rights to their work and each are given cash awards. Each year three winners are selected quarterly for both the Writers and the Illustrators Contests. Then a Grand Prize winner is selected for both the Writers and the Illustrators. Grand Prize Winners receive an additional $5,000. The Contest flies out all winners to Los Angeles for an expense-paid, weeklong workshop given by Contest judges and culminates in a Black-Tie Gala Awards event. The contests promote the arts welcoming diversity, ethnicity, creativity and equality, with no age limits.

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.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction. Since its inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 35 anthology volumes and awarded upwards of $1 million in cash prizes and royalties. For more information please visit www.writersofthefuture.com and www.galaxypress.com

Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director for Author Services, Inc.

Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press Present Annual Writers and Illustrators of the Future Gala

Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press will present The 35th Annual Writers of the Future and the 30th Annual Illustrators of the Future L. Ron Hubbard Gala Achievement Awards celebrating the winners of the Contests, honoring 12 writers and 12 illustrators from around the world for their excellence in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The Black Tie Event, with celebrity award presenters, will be held at the Taglyan Complex, 1201 Vine Street (at Lexington Avenue, the entrance for Valet Parking), Hollywood, CA 90038. Red Carpet Arrivals begin at 4:30 p.m. Emceed by Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc., the Invitation Only Event will be catered by Divine Catering. The Awards Banquet will start at 6:00 p.m. Members of the General Public can watch the Awards Show streaming live from 7:30–9:30 p.m. PST at www.writersofthefuture.com. A Book Signing and Reception with follow the Awards Show in the lobby of the Taglyan Complex.

Joni Labaqui, Director of the Contests for Author Services, Inc. said, “This year marks a historic milestone in our contests with simultaneous benchmark anniversaries, both the 35th Anniversary of our Writer’s Contest and the 30th Anniversary of our Illustrator’s Contest. On the evening April 5th Author Services, Inc. will present awards to 24 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers and Illustrators of the Future that have been chosen as winners of the 2018 contests adjudicated by world renowned Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer and Illustrator Judges. Our theme for this year’s two-hour awards show is ‘Retro Robotics.'”

John Goodwin, President of Galaxy Press, said, “One Grand Prize Writer Winner and One Grand Prize Illustrator Winner will be selected from a field of 12 Quarterly Writer Winners and 12 Quarterly Illustrator Winners, respectively. Our contests promote the arts welcoming diversity, ethnicity, creativity and equality, with no age limits. The Awards Show and Banquet will be held in the Taglyan Complex’s Grand Ballroom, and will be followed by a Book Signing and Reception.”

Labaqui continued, “Our show will open with a Sci-Fi Stomp and Body Percussion Dance featuring a Robot from NASA’s Jet Propulsive Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and dancers from EM Cirque, a world renowned aerobatics and dance troupe.”

Goodwin added, “Bob Eggleton, a Founding Judge of the Illustrators of the Future Contest will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ed Hulse, an award-winning author, journalist and historian, will serve as our Keynote Speaker. The Heinlein Society, named after the late Robert Anson Heinlein, an American Science Fiction author, aeronautical engineer and Naval Officer, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Science Fiction writers,’ will present Author Services, Inc. with a Special Recognition honoring the 35th Anniversary of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.”

Awards Show Celebrity and VIP Guests and Presenters will include:

  • Sibongile Mlambo (“Dark/Web,” “MacGyver,” “Siren,” “Lost in Space,” “Teen Wolf,” “Black Sails”)
  • Lee Purcell (Primetime Emmy Award Nominee, “Secret Sins of the Father,” “Long Road Home,” “J.L. Family Ranch,” “Kids Vs Monsters,” “Valley Girl”)
  • Steven L. Sears (Co-Executive Producer, “Xena: Warrior Princess,” Executive Producer, “Sheena,” Producer, “Raven”)
  • Sean Cameron Michael (“The Last Victims,” “Black Sails,” “The Mummy,” “MacGyver”)
  • Hank Garrett (“Death Wish,” “The Amityville Horror,” “Serpico”)
  • Phil Proctor (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Assassin’s Creed,” “Flightplan,” “Dr. Doolittle 2”)
  • Judy Norton (“The Waltons,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Bluff,” “Nowhere To Hide”)
  • Jim Meskimen (“Parks and Recreation,” “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” “S.W.A.T.,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “NCIS”)
  • Taylor Meskimen (“Superstrata,” “The Hollywouldn’ts,” “Chastity Bites”)
  • Edwin Gagiano (“Snake Park,” “Proper Manors,” “Broken Darkness,” and “Villa Rosa”)
  • Kelton Jones (“Dry Blood,” “Townies,” “The Passion of the Christ”)
  • Daniel Kotto (“Forever,” “Blood Orange”)
  • Jesse Kove (“On Wings of Eagles,” “Show No Mercy,” “The Shadow”)
  • Gino Montesinos (“NCIS,” “Adopted,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
  • Jeffrey Patterson (“Another Day in Paradise,” “Finding Harmony”)
  • Autumn and Paige Patterson (Twin Sisters, “Another Day in Paradise,” “Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink”)
  • Brittany and Brianna Winner (Twin Sisters, national bestselling, multiple award-winning Science Fiction novelists, and Pinnacle award-winning teachers)
  • Ed Hulse (Keynote Speaker and award-winning journalist and historian who specializes in documenting American popular culture of the late 19th and 20th Centuries)
  • Bob Eggleton (Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Hugo Award and Chesley Award-winning Artist; Founding Judge of the Illustrator’s Contest)
  • Beatrice Kondo (Assistant Program Director for the Masters of Science in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University and on the Board of Directors of the Heinlein Society.)

Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director for Author Services, Inc. will Emcee the event, and Joni Labaqui will present The Golden Pen Award and a $5,000 Grand Prize Check to the winner of the of the Writers of the Future Contest, and The Golden Quill Award and another $5,000 Grand Prize Check will be presented to the winner of the Illustrators Contest. John Goodwin will unveil the 35th edition of “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35,” with a cover painted by internationally renowned artist, Bob Eggleton.

This year’s live awards show will be simultaneously broadcast to a worldwide audience via the Internet. Streaming will be live beginning at 7:30 p.m. PST and continue to 9:30 p.m. from www.writersofthefuture.com. The airing time of the broadcast will vary depending on the time zone viewers are residing in. Directly following the awards show the winning authors and illustrators will sign books at a reception to be held in the well-appointed lobby of the Taglyan Complex. This year’s contest winners will also have the opportunity to attend workshops held here in Los Angeles one week prior to the awards show to network with the renowned writer and illustrator judges of this year’s competitions to gain valuable feedback to help them advance their careers in their chosen fields of interest.

This Black Tie Event is by Invitation Only. Members of the General Public can watch the awards show streaming live from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. PST on Friday, April 5, 2019 at www.writersofthefuture.com. To view a B-roll link of this year’s show announcement, please visit: www.writersofthefuture.com.

The 12 Writer Winners of the 35th Annual Writer’s Contest include:

  • Kyle Kirrin of Creede, CO (First Quarter Winner)
  • Preston Dennett of Reseda, CA (First Quarter Winner)
  • Kai Wolden of Eden Prairie, MN (First Quarter Winner)
  • David Cleden of Fleet, Hampshire, UK (Second Quarter Winner)
  • Rustin Lovewell of Gaithersburg, MD (Second Quarter Winner)
  • Carrie Callahan Bardstown, KY (Second Quarter Winner)
  • Elise Stephens of Seattle, WA (Third Quarter Winner)
  • Christopher Baker of Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK (Third Quarter Winner)
  • Mica Scott Kole of Westland, MI (Third Quarter Winner)
  • Andrew Dykstal of Arlington, VA (Fourth Quarter Winner)
  • Wulf Moon of Sequim, WA (Fourth Quarter Winner)
  • John Haas Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Fourth Quarter Winner)

The 12 Illustrator Winners of the 30th Annual Illustrator’s Contest include:

  • Emerson Rabbitt of Minneapolis, MN (First Quarter Winner)
  • Vytautas V of Paris, France (First Quarter Winner)
  • Yinying Jiang of Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK (First Quarter Winner)
  • Alexander Gustafson of Essex Junction, VT (Second Quarter Winner)
  • Christine Rhee of San Francisco, CA (Second Quarter Winner)
  • Sam Kemp of Birmingham, West Midlands, England (Second Quarter Winner)
  • Allen Morris of Cleveland, MS (Third Quarter Winner)
  • Jennifer Ober of Atlanta, GA (Third Quarter Winner)
  • Josh Pemberton of Seattle, WA (Third Quarter Winner)
  • Qianjiao Ma of Dublin, CA (Fourth Quarter Winner)
  • Alice Wang of Bellevue, WA (Fourth Quarter Winner)
  • Aliya Chen of Fair Oaks, CA (Fourth Quarter Winner)

This year’s 23 Distinguished Writer Contest Judges include:

  • Kevin J. Anderson (An international bestselling author of more than 100 books, as well as a comic writer, anthology editor, record and film producer. Co-Author of the “Dune” prequels.)
  • Doug Beason (Has written 14 high-tech novels. He also served in the President’s Science Office in Washington, D.C.)
  • Gregory Benford (Has won four Hugo Awards and is an astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physic and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.)
  • Orson Scott Card (New York Times bestselling author of several novels including “Enders Game ” which was made into a feature film in 2013.)
  • David Farland (Coordinating Judge for the Writers; Editor of “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume 35;” Grand Prize Winner of Writers of the Future Volume Three; a New York Times bestselling author as David Farland (his pen name for fantasy stories) and as David Wolverton (his real name that he uses for science fiction stories.)
  • Eric Flint (A former contest winner from 1993, Flint has written over 40 novels, both solo and in collaboration and is Founder and Editor of Jim Baen’s “Universe.”)
  • Brian Herbert (Co-Author of the “Dune” prequels.)
  • Nina Kiriki Hoffman (A 1985 contest winner, Hoffman is the winner of the Nebula and Bram Stoker)
  • Nancy Kress (Multiple award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy, two Hugo, six Nebula, one Campbell and one Sturgeon awards.)
  • Katherine Kurtz (Author of the “Deryni” series, “Templar” series and “Adept” series.)

This year’s 23 Distinguished Writer Contest Judges include:

  • Todd McCaffrey (Best known for continuing the “Dragonriders of Pern” series in collaboration with his mother Anne McCaffrey.)
  • Rebecca Moesta (Co-Author of The New York Times bestselling “Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights” series as well as the “Star Challengers” books.)
  • Larry Niven (Winner of every major Science Fiction award. The legendary creator of “Ringworld” and the “Known Space” series.)
  • Jody Lynn Nye (Authored or co-authored over 50 books and over 150 short stories and she has written everything from science fiction, fantasy, military to humor.)
  • Nnedi Okorafor (Hugo and Nebula Award Winner, “The Binti Trilogy,” Publisher’s Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013, “Kabu Kabu,” Amazon.com Best Book of the Year, “Akata Witch,” Comics: “Black Panther: Long Live The King” (Marvel), “Shuri” (Marvel), “Wakanda Forever” (Marvel)
  • Timothy Thomas “Tim” Powers (American Science Fiction and Fantasy author. He has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels “Last Call” and “Declare.” His 1988 novel, “On Stranger Tides” served as the inspiration for the “Monkey Island” franchise of video games and was optioned for adaptation into the four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.)
  • Mike Resnick (The genre’s all-time leading award-winner for short fiction, authoring 62 novels, over 250 short stories and editing more than 40 anthologies.)
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch (New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and editor.)
  • Brandon Sanderson (Best known for the Cosmere universe, in which most of his fantasy novels are set. He is also known for finishing Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series “The Wheel of Time.”)
  • Robert J. Sawyer (Dean of Canadian Science Fiction. Sawyer has won every major Science Fiction award. One of his novellas was the basis for the ABC-TV series, “Flash Forward.”)
  • Robert Silverberg (He is a multiple winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame, and Grand Master of Science Fiction.)
  • Dean Wesley Smith (He is known primarily for his “Star Trek” novels, film novelizations, and other novels of licensed properties such as “Smallville,” “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” “Aliens,” “Roswell,” “Men in Black” and “Quantum Leap.”)
  • Sean Williams (Multiple New York Times bestselling author from Australia.)

This year’s 18 Distinguished Illustrator Judges include:

  • Echo Chernik (Illustrator Contest Coordinating Judge) (Award-Winning Illustrator for advertising, packaging and publishing, whose work has been featured in many commercial design magazine articles. Her artwork has also been displayed in many galleries.)
  • Lazarus Chernik (An experienced Creative Director, Brand Manager, and award-winning Designer.)
  • Ciruelo (Argentine Fantasy Artist known for the “Eragon Coloring Book.”)
  • Vincent Di Fate (American artist specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and realistic space art illustration.)
  • Diane Dillon (Two-time Caldecott Award-winning artist.)
  • Dave Dorman (A Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy illustrator best known for his “Star Wars” artwork.)
  • Bob Eggleton (This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. Founding Judge of the Illustrators of the Future Contest. Winner of seven Hugo Awards and 11 Chesley Awards. His art can be seen on the covers of magazines, professional publications and books in the world of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror around the world. He is also a conceptual illustrator for movies and thrill rides.)
  • Larry Elmore (Well known as a fantasy artist for “Dungeons & Dragons.” He worked on “Dragonlance” amongst dozens of magazines and book covers. Cover Designer of “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume 33.”)
  • Laura Freas Beraha (She was married to the famous artist, Frank Kelly Freas. She won a Chelsey Award for illustration.)
  • Val Lakey Lindahn (Illustrator Judge since the inception of the contest. Lindahn was nominated twice for the Hugo, Chesley, Frank R. Paul and Jack Gone Awards.)
  • Stephan Martiniere (Has received a Gold Award from Spectrum in 2004 and Thea Award in 2001 for his work on Paramount’s “Super Saturator” theme park ride. He was personally nominated for an Emmy Awardâ in 1994 for directorial work on Family Channel’s “Madeleine” series.)
  • Gary Meyer (Master of the College at the Pasadena ArtCenter College of Design.)
  • Cliff Nielson (Best known for his work on “Star Wars,” “The X-Files” and “Chronicles of Narnia.”)
  • Mike Perkins (Comic book artist best known for “Captain America,” “Ruse” and Stephen King‘s “The Stand.”)
  • Sergey Poyarkov (A 1991 contest winner from the Ukraine, who has now become a contest judge and has gone on to a successful career as a fine artist with works displayed in exhibitions across Russia, the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.)
  • Rob Prior (Artist who paints with two hands, event paints two separate paintings at the same time. He has created comics, most notably “Spawn,” “Terminator,” “Deep Space 9” and “Heavy Metal.”)
  • Shaun Tan (Australian artist, writer and filmmaker. Won an Academy Award for “The Lost Thing” in 2011.)
  • Stephen Youll (Science Fiction and Fantasy artist)

About The Lifetime Achievement Award Winner:

Bob Eggleton was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1960 and became interested in Science Fiction art at an early age. Today he is a successful Science Fiction, Fantasy and landscape artist.

Winner of seven Hugo Awards and eleven Chesley Awards, his art can be seen on the covers of numerous magazines, professional publications and books in the world of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror across the world including several volumes of his own work. He has also worked as a conceptual illustrator for movies and thrill rides.

Of late, Eggleton has focused more on private commissions and self-commissioned work. He is an elected Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists and is a Fellow of the New England Science Fiction Association.

He has been an Illustrators of the Future judge since 1988. Find out more at: www.bobeggleton.com.

About The Keynote Speaker:
Ed Hulse is an award-winning journalist and historian who specializes in documenting American popular culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His books include “Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders,” “The Blood ‘N’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction,” “The Films of Betty Grable and Frances Dee: A Film History.

As a journalist Ed Hulse covered the home video and consumer electronics industries for trade and consumer publications alike between 1980 and 2005. His columns, reviews and articles appeared in such outlets as Premiere Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, Video Business, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and This Week In Consumer Electronics. Between 1986 and 1990 Hulse edited Video Review’s Previews, a nationally circulated magazine spotlighting current home video releases. During this same period, his entertainment-industry coverage was syndicated by the The Washington Post’s Writers Group. Between 2001 and 2007 he reviewed new releases, wrote feature articles and conducted celebrity interviews for the Video section of www.barnesandnoble.com.

As a film historian Hulse has written numerous books about vintage motion pictures and their stars. These include: The Films of Betty Grable, Zane Grey and the Movies, Frances Dee: A Film History, and Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders. His most recent book, Wage Slaves in the Dream Factory: Low-Budget Filmmaking During Hollywood’s Golden Age, will be published in September 2019. Between 2002 and 2016 Hulse edited and published Blood ‘n’ Thunder, an award-winning journal devoted to the study of adventure, mystery and melodrama in pop-culture media of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2018 Murania Press published the revised second edition of his Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction, which has been sold in 23 countries and is used as a text in nearly a dozen American universities.

About The Contests:
Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling Science Fiction novel, “Battlefield Earth,” written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest (www.writersofthefuture.com) in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The annual Contests draw entrants from around the globe and are free to enter. Winners retain full rights to their work and each are given cash awards. Grand Prize Winners receive an additional $5,000. The Contest flies out all winners to Los Angeles for an expense-paid, weeklong workshop given by Contest judges and culminates in a Black Tie Gala Awards event.

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.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction. Since its inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 35 anthology volumes and awarded upwards of $1 million in cash prizes and royalties. For more information please visit www.writersofthefuture.com and www.galaxypress.com.

 

 

Cover art, “One of Our Robots is Missing,” for Writers of the Future 35

International Writers of the Future 35th Awards Ceremony Set for Live Worldwide Broadcast

Hollywood, CA—Mark your calendar to watch the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Achievement Awards Ceremony Friday, April 5, 7:30 PM (Pacific)

The L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards ceremony, celebrating its 35th anniversary of the internationally-acclaimed Writers of the Future Contest and its companion Illustrators of the Future Contest, will be broadcast on Friday, April 5, 7:30 PM (Pacific), to a worldwide audience via the Internet, it was announced today. Streaming will be live from www.writersofthefuture.com where a countdown to the event can currently be seen.

Themed around the book cover art entitled “One of Our Robots Is Missing” painted by award-winning artist Bob Eggleton, the opening act will be performed by EMCirque and a Mars Rover prototype.

The evening ceremony will be held before a packed hall of invited guests, celebrities, and many of speculative fiction’s most popular writers and illustrators at The Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles, all gathered to find out who will win the Writers of the Future Golden Pen award and a $5,000 check and the Illustrators of the Future Golden Brush award and their $5,000 check.

“You could call the Writers of the Future Contest ‘The American Idol for Writers’—long before there ever was an American Idol,” said USA Today and New York Times best-selling author and Contest judge Kevin J. Anderson (Dune prequels, Saga of Seven Suns, Star Wars). “It’s amazing to me that a good 60 to 70 percent of the winners go on with successful careers in writing, and several have become best-selling authors themselves.”

As the top names in the science fiction and fantasy world, Contest judges will be on hand to present the annual awards to this year’s writer and illustrator winners as well as the grand prize winner for each Contest. Writer judges who will be attending include Kevin J. Anderson, Doug Beason, Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, David Farland, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Jody Lynn Nye, Nnedi Okorafor, Tim Powers, Robert J. Sawyer, and Dean Wesley Smith. Illustrator judges will include Echo and Lazarus Chernik, Bob Eggleton, Larry Elmore, Val Lakey Lindahn, Sergey Poyarkov, and Rob Prior.

“This annual gala ceremony for new writers and illustrators of science fiction and fantasy is such a moving experience that we want all speculative fiction fans everywhere and the friends and families of this year’s winners to witness it,” said Joni Labaqui, the Contests’ director.

Every quarter, three writers and three illustrators are selected by a panel of leading authors and artists of science fiction and fantasy. With no entry fee and judging done on an anonymous basis, the criterion is strictly merit. Beside first time publication, benefits include over $30,000 in cash prizes and royalties, a week-long workshop with top professionals of the genre as well as book signings, radio, and TV interviews organized by the contest administrators to assist the winners in launching their careers.

Please note, this is a live broadcast, so check your time zone for when it will show in your location. You can follow the live countdown to the achievement awards at www.writersofthefuture.com.

For more information, on the Contests, go to www.writersofthefuture.com/writers-contest-info.

Winners of Worldwide L. Ron Hubbard Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contests Have Been Finalized for Year 35

US, British, Chinese, and Canadian Writers and Illustrators are chosen to be published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35.

Writers of the Future emblemThe winners of the 35th annual and internationally-acclaimed L. Ron Hubbard Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contests have now been finalized.

They were selected out of thousands who entered the Contest and will be published in the 2019 edition of the national bestselling anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35.

There are four quarters each year that entrants can submit a short story in the fantasy or science fiction genres. This Contest is for writers and illustrators looking to launch their career, not already established writers and artists.

Presentation of the Gold Awards for the year’s best story and illustration will be announced at the annual gala awards event in Hollywood, California in the spring of 2019.

Meet the talented group in the upcoming anthology.

The Writers:

Carrie Callahan from Kentucky
David Cleden from England
Preston Dennett from California
Christopher Baker from England
Andrew Dykstal from Virginia
John Haas from Canada
Kyle Kirrin from Colorado
Rustin Lovewell from Maryland
Wulf Moon from Washington
Mica Scotti Kole from Michigan
Elise Stephens from Washington
Kai Wolden from Minnesota

The Illustrators:

Aliya Chen from California
Alexander Gustafson from Washington
Yingying Jiang from England
Sam Kemp from England
Qianjiao Ma from China
Allen Morris from Washington
Jennifer Ober from New Mexico
Josh Pemberton from Washington
Emerson Rabbitt from Minnesota
Christine Rhee from California
Vytautas Vasiliauskas from England
Alice Wang from Washington

These are the writers and illustrators to look for. They are the future.

L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. 12 winners have become New York Times bestselling authors and winners’ works have sold over 50 million copies.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of speculative fiction. Since inception, the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contests have awarded over one million cumulatively in cash prizes and royalties to their winners.

Created in 1983 by L. Ron Hubbard, Writers of the Future is the longest running contest for SF and Fantasy novice writers in the world

Visit www.writersofthefuture.com for more information.

Michael Michera on the red carpet with singer Joy Villa

Spotlight on artist Michael Michera

Michael Michera is a self-taught artist who found out about L. Ron Hubbard’s Illustrators of the Future Contest quite accidentally from a friend who then persuaded him to enter. That accidental encounter resulted in Michael winning the grand prize.

The contest, which is in its 28th year, costs nothing to enter. And thousands of artists enter every year from all over the world. The judging is done by top professionals and is anonymous, meaning the judging is done blind without reference to name, gender or nationality.

About Michael and His Art

Grand prize winner, Michael Michera

Grand prize winner, Michael Michera

Michael was born and raised in Poland where he currently resides. When it comes to art, he has been passionate about prehistoric animals since childhood, when he began drawing dinosaurs and creating his own creatures from his imagination. Later his interest expanded to include all animals and biology in general. He read many books on this topic and earned priceless knowledge for his current work as a concept artist.

As a youngster, Michael watched a lot of horror and sci-fi movies and it is those films, and most particularly the movie Alien, that has influenced his art.

Michael has always been fascinated by traditional drawing as well as comic art. He loves to experiment with art styles, though he most enjoys creating robots and futuristic designs of sci-fi technology. He uses digital painting and 3D sculpture in his creations.

Illustrators Workshop and Awards Celebration

As a winner of the Contest, Michael came to Los Angeles and attended the Illustrators of the Future Workshop the week prior to the awards celebration. The workshop is exclusively for the artist winners, and instructors include Coordinating Judge Echo Chernik along with judges Lazarus Chernik, Ciruelo, Larry Elmore, Sergey Poyarkov and a host of special guest artists and art directors.

Author C.L. Kagmi with the illustration Michael did for her story

Author C.L. Kagmi with the illustration Michael did for her story

During the seminars, the artists learn both the practical and business side of illustrating including how to put together their portfolio, how to brand and promote themselves, as well as practical experience on drawing. Each artist also has one-on-one time with professionals to get advice on their work.

During the week, the Writers Workshop is also taking place and so Michael met author C.L. Kagmi who wrote the story he illustrated, “The Drake Equation.”

For Michael, winning the grand prize was the best day of his life. In his acceptance speech, he talked about how artists and writers can together change the world and that he was glad to be shaping the future together with his fellow artists and writers.

He ended by saying, “Thank you for everything. This is a very important day for me and probably the best week in my life. If this is my American dream, I don’t want to wake up.”

We look forward to seeing much more of Michael and his creativity in the future.

Molly Elizabeth Atkins, author of “Obsidian Spire”

It seems to me that Molly Elizabeth Atkins is in the middle of a transition.

She’s a published finalist in the 33rd Annual Writers of the Future anthology, of course. It’s her first time in print. Her story is titled “Obsidian Spire” and tells the tale of a young swordfighter dealing with fables and trying to keep the people of her lands safe. In real life, Molly is a mom who spends her days working to keep two kids and a husband safe. Unlike the character in her story, she apparently manages to complete this job without the use of swords. She’s also been a consumer relations agent, another job that apparently required no blades with edges.

Having a love for fantasy and science fiction, however, calls for a different skillset.

She’s one of those people who get up in the wee hours of the morning to make it happen, though. “That’s the time I have right now,” she said to me. “So that’s the time it happens.”

I get the feeling there are a lot of things like that in Molly’s life these days. Decide and do. No complaining. Just make it happen. During the week I get the distinct pleasure of meeting much of her family. At one point, she’s in the chair getting her makeup done for the awards event and her parents are there and her husband and her kids. They share banter back and forth.

You can see where her strength comes from.

It’s a strength that shows up in her work, too. I don’t know if she sees that, or if her family sees that. But I do. Reading “Obsidian Spire” feels intimate like that banter does, even when the conversation is between people who don’t yet really know each other.

Like many of the contest winners, Molly’s been working to be a writer for several years. During her time at the workshop, she’s been asking questions that range from how to write to how to make more time for herself. Practical questions. No nonsense questions. They are questions that a professional writer asks of other professional writers, and I can see her absorbing ideas, processing, turning them into things that make sense for her. “I think I can do this now,” she said after one of the sessions. “It’s been a lot of learning, but now all these dreams I’ve had seem achievable.”

That’s the transition, you know? That’s the thing that makes a difference here.

“Obsidian Spire” is a fantastic fantasy story. As noted above, it represents Molly’s first publication.

I can’t wait to see her next … and her next … and …

Molly and fellow author, David VonAllmen, will be at the Barnes & Noble West County Mall in St. Louis on Saturday, April 15, signing copies of Writers of the Future Volume 33. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and congratulate them and get a copy of their story. You are in for a great treat.

For information about author book signings, visit the Writers & Illustrators of the Future facebook page.

 


Ron Collins, guest blogger Guest blogger, Ron Collins.
Ron Collins was a Writers of the Future published finalist in 1998 and a prize winner in 1999. He has gone on to publish about 100 short stories in prominent magazines and anthologies. Each volume in his fantasy serial Saga of the God-Touched Mage, hit the top 10 on Amazon’s bestselling Dark Fantasy list in the US, UK, and Australia. His short story, “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. The first four books of his current SF series, Stealing the Sun, are available now. Find out more about Ron at typosphere.com

Author Andrew L. Roberts listening guest speaker, Kevin J. Anderson, at the Writers Workshop

Andrew L. Roberts, author of “Tears for Shulna”

It doesn’t take long after meeting Andrew L. Roberts to know that this is a man who looks for layers in life. He’s a man of gratitude, and a guy who can find meaning in everything that happens, and then be able to talk about it in a framework that makes sense. He knows people.

Andrew L. Roberts

Andrew L. Roberts

When you talk with him you get the feeling that he loves people, too, which gives color to the fact that he’s made his living working as a material manager in manufacturing environments—a place where dealing with people and the stresses of deadlines are vital. He’s also a die-hard fantasy fan with a science fiction underbelly.

He understands a lot of the history that’s gone on in our field.

I think I’m on to him, though.

Despite all that, after spending a full week together at the workshop I’ve determined that the truth that sits at the heart of Andrew L. Roberts is that he’s really an out-of-time bard, a musician and a poet with a passion for putting that essence into stories.

You can see this in “Tears for Shülna,” his short story published in the 33rd annual Writers of the Future anthology. Not to get into specifics here, but it’s a delicate tale told around hearty people that touches on sacrifice, eternal love, and well … more. It’s hard to get that kind of emotional content into such a short piece, but Andrew makes it work.

Reading it made me smile.

Scanning through it again on the plane ride home made me flash on conversations with him throughout the week. (Aside: If you see Andrew at a convention or a signing, ask him about how he learned to play the bagpipes by going to the cemetery!)

His next project is a fantasy set in seventeenth century Japan.

I’m completely going to read the heck out of that.

I think you should, too.

If you are going to be in the San Jose area this weekend, you can meet Andrew, shake his hand and also get him to autograph his story for you. Andrew, along with two of his writer winner friends from Vol 33 (Doug Souza and Sean Hazlett), will be at the Barnes & Noble on Stevens Creek Blvd in San Jose on April 15, between 1:00 and 4:00 pm, signing copies of Writers of the Future Volume 33. When you see him, be sure to ask about the bagpipes.

For information about author book signings, visit the Writers & Illustrators of the Future facebook page.

 


Ron Collins

Ron Collins

Guest blogger, Ron Collins.
Ron Collins was a Writers of the Future published finalist in 1998 and a prize winner in 1999. He has gone on to publish about 100 short stories in prominent magazines and anthologies. Each volume in his fantasy serial Saga of the God-Touched Mage, hit the top 10 on Amazon’s bestselling Dark Fantasy list in the US, UK, and Australia. His short story, “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. The first four books of his current SF series, Stealing the Sun, are available now. Find out more about Ron at typosphere.com

Writers & Illustrators of the Future Awards Event 2017

This is, of course, the day of the achievement awards ceremony. It’s held at the Wilshire Ebell Club Theatre, which is an amazingly cool place.

At one point, a little later in the night, I found myself standing in the big room where the final book signing would be held. The gala event was over, but the winners had not yet arrived. The room, therefore, was fairly quiet. Just a few people milling around. In an adjoining room, there were several tables covered with newly released copies of Writers and Illustrators of the Future, Volume 33 all waiting to be signed. Other tables had drinks on them, and still, other tables were covered with trays of food. But the tables I was looking at were a large collection in the middle of the room, each placed together to form a rectangle.

Inside the rectangle, there were fourteen chairs (five to each long side, and two to each short side), facing out. Each table was covered in a tablecloth of pale gold, and in front of each chair sat a blue pen. The pens seemed to be locked and loaded, lined up in perfectly regimented order. In just a few minutes the winners would arrive, take these seats, and begin to use these pens to sign books. But right then everything was quiet and stable. A calm before the storm.

This “calm before the storm” is how I’m feeling about this year’s class of winners. Their book is ready to launch, as—for many of them—are their writing careers. I can feel that storm brewing within this group. I can’t wait to see what this gang does.

In the meantime, I suppose I should go back in time a bit. (Everything about the Writers f the Future is focused on science fiction and fantasy, right? I figure I’ve got some leeway to let time travel happen here, so I’m going to take it).

Earlier this morning, the winners had been quiet and subdued. I walked over to ASI, to take in the hair and make-up process going on. Along the way, I spied three of the guys having a quiet conversation in the hotel lobby. Two others were at a Starbucks, sipping coffee and having a quiet conversation. They all had speeches to deal with, and in the end, they would all deal with those speeches beautifully. But in the morning, it seems to be a little stressful.

I watched Molly Atkins and C.L. Kagmi get their makeup done. I chatted with Ziporah Hildebrandt as she was waiting her time in the seat. Family members of Molly and Ziporah came into town, and I got to chat with them for a while. This was great fun. After a whole week of watching the winners go about their work, seeing their kids, parents, and other significant others was a special treat.

Before too long, it was time to travel to the Wilshire. We piled into a bus and headed off. Conversation throughout the ride was lively. Jake Marley and Stephen Lawson chatted up a storm. I asked about their previous experience with speaking in groups, both had some but Stephen took the lead due to his work in the military. When we arrive, the winners got their pictures taken, and made their way down the red carpet, and had a series of fantastic interviews.

The thematic element of the event this year is the red dragon, painted gloriously be renowned artist Larry Elmore. This means the red carpet is decorated with the head of a red dragon and patrolled by a knight in shining armor. Families and visitors took seats, and the event began.

Bottom line: this ceremony was huge when I was last here in the late 1990s. It was loud and raucous, and a lot of fun. Those events paled, however, in relationship to what it is now. This is a huge presentation. Contest judges Rob Prior and Larry Elmore kicked off the festivities by painting a dragon together as a trio of fire dancers kept the audience entertained. Then came an overview of L. Ron Hubbard and the contest itself.

Mike Resnick received a lifetime award and give a speech about his writer children and how he has always nurtured new writers. As one of his earlier writer children, I can completely confirm this…watching Mike get this award was a highlight of my week. Mike’s efforts to help new writers over the years dovetail perfectly with this contest, a fact that was represented by the rows of past winners I was sitting with who had all been published in or with him. Of course, his speech was fantastic.

Then Pat Henry, co-founder and President of Dragon Con gave a lively dissertation about fandom, the convention, the value of fantasy and science fiction, and dragons as a whole.

So, yeah, the early part of the show was great fun, but the time had now come for the presentation of the awards. I could easily put myself in the winner’s shoes and realize that they were probably getting more nervous as time went by. As David VonAllmen said, there may well have been 1200 people in the building, but there were millions more looking in on the Internet. No pressure, right?

Anyway…the winners’ talks may well have taken forever to get here, but they started off with a bang when Anton Rose gave a fantastic speech for his story “A Glowing Heart.” From this point on, winner after winner came to the stage and made brilliant moments. Perhaps the most powerful speech came from a writer who wasn’t even here. Walter Dinjos, a Nigerian winner (for “The Woodcutter’s Diety”) sent a beautiful video from his home in which he thanked L. Ron Hubbard and the contest and went on to note how he missed being with his writer class and would be looking forward to finding them as their careers unwound. Afterward, Larry Elmore, who was presenting the illustrator’s award, paused, looked out at the audience, and said “That was a moving video. You can tell he has the same heart as the rest of us.”

Yes, indeed you could.

And, yes, there was moment after moment for the winners, culminating in the announcement of the illustrious “Golden Pen Award,” the top achievement in the contest in which the judges selected a grand prize winner from the top four winners of each quarter. This year the candidates were Dustin Steinacker’s “Envoy on the Ice,” Doug Souza’s “The Armor Embrace,” Andrew Peery’s “Useless Magic,” and Jake Marley’s “Acquisition.”

When Jake’s name was called, pandemonium broke out. There was screaming and laughing and joyous crying—and that was just from Jake! The rest of the crowd, including this fantastic set off on a round of thunderous applause as he bounded down the aisle, hugging his friends and receiving big claps on the back. To say the least, this was a very popular winner. Jake gave a beautiful acceptance speech. At one point the screen flash on his beautiful wife and daughter smiling, with tears in their eyes, literally unable to hold still. Later I would speak with one of them and she was effervescent. “I’m so proud of him!” she would say, literally glowing as she held a copy of the book to her chest. “He’s been gone at the Writers of the Future for so long and I haven’t seen him or hugged him until today and I’m so proud of him I can hardly even finish my sentences and I’m so ready to burst.”

Which brings us full circle to the book signing.

The winners arrive and take their seats. Books are purchased, and the signing commences. I wander around in the background, watching as the lines of people walk through and the writers talk to each of them as they personalize the books. It’s a long process. Past winners Megan O’Keefe and Laurie Tom are there, making sure the writers always have water, which is considerably more important than they might have thought before going through this. It’s hot there, you know? The lights are on, and the people move by, and you’re talking all the time, which means your voice gets dry. Water is a big deal at a signing. Consider this lesson number 10,058 of the Writers of the Future week.

Then it’s done.

The winners pile into busses, get back to the hotel, put on their everyday duds, and head to the after-party to chat, sign each other’s books, have a little snack, and basically just decompress.

It’s nearly 3:00 by the time I get back to the room and shut off the light.

But, who is minding the clock, right? This Writers of the Future thing is all about fantasy and science fiction.

Time is our plaything, and tonight it’s on the side of these 14 amazing winners.

For a glimpse of how the day transpired, click HERE.

 


Ron Collins

Ron Collins

Guest blogger, Ron Collins.
Ron Collins was a Writers of the Future published finalist in 1998 and a prize winner in 1999. He has gone on to publish about 100 short stories in prominent magazines and anthologies. Each volume in his fantasy serial Saga of the God-Touched Mage, hit the top 10 on Amazon’s bestselling Dark Fantasy list in the US, UK, and Australia. His short story, “The White Game” was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2016 Derringer Award. The first four books of his current SF series, Stealing the Sun, are available now. Find out more about Ron at typosphere.com

Jessica Tung Chi Lee

The Journey to Win

It was in the late summer of 2011 when I first found Illustrator of the Future Contest. I was in a great stress caused by not being able to find a decent place to live less than a month before my years-long master program started and trying to adapt to a whole new environment and American culture which was the first foreign country I had ever traveled to.

It is an exaggeration, but I felt like an immigrant worker in the Gold Rush era; confused, scared, and hopeful but hopeless. I didn’t submit any work at that moment, because I had nothing. However, the contest was imprinted on my mind.

After a couple years of struggling with my art education in the Academy of Art, I finally had something I felt good enough to submit. Nothing came back.

Same quietness in the next year.

In my last semester, when I felt entirely hopeless with the competition, and honestly convinced that I would never receive anything back from the contest, I submitted my work as my last try. “It doesn’t hurt to just try the last time.” I told myself. I forgot about the contest completely after that submission.

Jessica with her illustration for Writers of the Future Vol 31 and bestseller list

Jessica with her illustration for Writers of the Future Vol 31 and bestseller list

It was after I had started working in the industry for quite a while, I received a phone call from a woman with an energetic yet smooth voice. “Hey Tung Chi! Congratulations! You won the first quarter of the contest!” Joni Labaqui said over the phone, excitedly. I was at a complete lost. “What was that?” I asked uncertainly.

“The Illustrator Of the Future contest! You won the first quarter!” Her cheerful voice resonated in my head.

I was thrilled, but it was not until the request for the final piece came in, did I realize how big a deal this contest was. There were renowned judges who were professionally established experts, and there was even an equally established Art Director (Bob Eggleton) I needed to work with to complete the final piece. It was a truly professional and top-standard competition and commission. I finished an illustration that was an obvious breakthrough in the body of my works.

Then I was flown to Los Angeles to participate in the informative week-long workshops, in which we met legendary artists such Larry Elmore, Dave Dorman, Nathan Fowkes, Cliff Nielsen, Ron and Val Lindahn and Sergey Poyarkov. After the packed yet fulfilling week, for the first time in my life, I was dressed up like a movie star in order to attend a ceremony as grand and formal as the Oscar Award.

Wining this contest not only brought me unforgettable memories, but also feature opportunities on magazines such as ImagineFX and Fantasy Scroll Mag, and tutorial requests from 3DTotal, and online features on DeviantArt groups, and many other exposure opportunities.

Most importantly, it made me one of the contributors of a national bestseller!

The award was not simply an assertion of my artistic ability and a proof of my achievement in the field, but also an incredible booster for the business side of my career. Now I look back, I feel immensely grateful to everyone who has been involved in my art journey so far, and also the young me, discouraged yet resilient, who decided to keep pursuing her passion and goal despite all the road blocks.
 


Jessica Tung Chi Lee

Jessica Tung Chi Lee

Guest Writer post by Jessica Tung Chi Lee
Illustrators of the Future Contest Winner
Illustrator for “Unrefined,”
Writers of the Future Volume 31

Tom Doherty, founder of Tor Books, on stage at the annual Writers & Illustrators of the Future Awards Ceremony accepting the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tom Doherty

Few casual readers may know of Tor Books, but almost anyone who has ever read a science fiction or fantasy book will have held one of Tor’s innumerable novels, which have been published since its inception in 1980. And who was the founder of what has become one of the most—if not the most—impressive powerhouse of speculative fiction in the modern world? That would be Tom Doherty!

Tom has deep roots when it comes to books, having been a book salesman through the 1950s and 60s, until he became the publisher at Tempo Books in 1972. A few years later, he also joined Grosset & Dunlap as publisher of their science fiction imprint, Ace Books. After all that time in the trenches of the publishing industry, Tom launched out on his own to create Tor Books and realize his own vision for science fiction and fantasy stories that would go on to inspire countless millions (if not billions) in the years since.

Nowadays, Tom is both president and publisher of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, which is associated with the Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen imprints. It’s almost as if he can’t get enough of publishing books that embody powerful and life-changing imagination! And his dedication to the industry has certainly shone through with the quality of the tales these imprints tell and the amazing authors they bring to the world.

Tom has been long lauded for his contributions to publishing and speculative fiction. For starters, in 2005, he received the Lifetime Achievement World Fantasy Award at the World Fantasy Convention. Most recently, Tom attended this year’s Writers of the Future celebration week, where he acted as a guest lecturer on the history of publishing and its current role in society. To top that off, he attended the award ceremony where he was honored by the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award.

Here’s what he had to say on receiving this award: “To be given an award for what I’d do for play, what could be better.”  He concluded by saying, “Thank you again to the Writers of the Future and its late founder, L. Ron Hubbard for having the vision and the foresight to make dreams come true. Together we build new tomorrows.”

Thank you, Tom Doherty, for publishing books that not only act as cornerstones of speculative fiction, but will live on to inspire future generations.