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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

Writers of the Future Volume 31 will be held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre

Writers of the Future Volume 31 to be released at Ebell Theatre on April 12, 2015

The L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests announced that the Hubbard Achievement Awards event celebrating the winners to be published in Writers of the Future Volume 31 will be held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 6:30 PM.

The announcement is being made to provide an opportunity for any science fiction and fantasy fans to plan for and attend the Hubbard Achievement Awards—one of the three major events celebrating the genre, the other two being the Hugo and the Nebula Awards—as there are only 1,200 seats and the hall has been full each of the years the event has been held there.

Throughout the Contests’ 31-year history, over 650 writers and illustrators have been recognized as winners. “What’s amazing to me is that a good 60 to 70% of winners go on to successful careers,” says New York Times’ best-selling author Anderson (Dune prequels, Seven Suns series). “You could call it ‘The American Idol’ for writers—long before there ever was such a show.”

The Writers of the Future writing contest was initiated by L. Ron Hubbard in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers 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 writing contest was created by L. Ron Hubbard to provide “a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” Based on its success, its sister contest, Illustrators of the Future was created five years later to provide that same opportunity for the aspiring artist.

The 348 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 838 novels and nearly 4,000 short stories. They have produced 27 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 50 million copies.

The 276 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 4,500 illustrations, 356 comic books, graced 594 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 36 TV shows and 46 major movies.

To see last year’s awards ceremony, go to www.writersofthefuture.com.

To RSVP for the Hubbard Achievement Awards contact Joni Labaqui at 323-466-3310.

C Stuart Hardwick

C Stuart Hardwick – 2014 Winning Writer!

C Stuart Hardwick was one of 12 winners in this year’s Writers of the Future Contest and was awarded at the L. Ron Hubbard Awards Ceremony at the Ebell Theatre of Los Angeles on April 13th.

C Stuart Hardwick at table

At the first meeting with judges Tim Powers, Dave Wolverton and Contest Director Joni Labaqui

All winners were flown into Hollywood the week before the awards ceremony to attend workshops led by industry professionals and contest judges such as Mike Resnick, Tim Powers and Nina Kiriki Hoffman.

The week started off with a challenge for the writers! They were asked to write a story including an item that they were given (such as a pipe, clock, door handle, etc.) and only have 24 hours to turn it in!

C Stuart Hardwick in workshop

The Writers examine their object

C Stuart Hardwick in library

Researching in the library

C Stuart Hardwick writers workshop

Like any good instructor, Tim Powers uses humor to dispense advice

C Stuart Hardwick writers workshop

After all stories were submitted, it was time for the “Big Reveal.” This is where the illustrators presented their illustrations of the writer’s stories  to the writers, only it’s not as easy at that. Each writer had to find the piece that was created for their story while the illustrators stood by. Illustrator Andrew Sonea was the illustrator for Stuart’s story “Rainbows for Other Days.”

C Stuart Hardwick with Illustrator Andrew Sonea

Stuart and Andrew with the illustration for his story

The next day was packed with a tour of the Bang Printing Plant where the winners go to see the Writers of the Future Volume 30 being printed and bound right in front of them! After the tour of the plant, they toured the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

C Stuart Hardwick at Bang Printing seeing book

Each winner got their own copy immediately after they were produced

C Stuart Hardwick in NASA suit

Stuart suits up!

C Stuart Hardwick taking picture

 

The next day was the much anticipated awards ceremony, and the winners were ready to make their debut on the red carpet!

C Stuart Hardwick on red carpet with all winners

All winners on the red carpet

C Stuart Hardwick walking to stage

Stuart walking to the stage to receive his award

C Stuart Hardwick accepting award on stage

After receiving his award, he took part in his first book signing at the hall along with all other winning writers and illustrators!

Writers of the Future after party

It was a packed hall for the book signing!

Stuart will be holding another book signing at Third Planet Sci-Fi Superstore in Houston, TX on Saturday May 10th from 2pm – 4pm. If you’re local, drop by and get your copy of Writers of the Future Vol 30 signed by him!

To see more of his work, check out his website at http://www.cstuarthardwick.com

Anaea Lay wins Writers of the Future Contest 2014

Anaea Lay – Winning Writer of 2014!

Anaea Lay was one of 12 winners in this year’s Writers of the Future Contest 2014! She was awarded with a trip to Hollywood for a week of workshops with industry professionals and contest judges, and an award presented to her at a black-tie ceremony with over 1,200 in attendance!

2014 writers winners

2014 writers winners

The week started off with a workshop led by award-winning author and judge Tim Powers. A random object was given to each writer and they had 24-hours to write a story involving that object. Anaea was given what seems to be a pipe…

Tim Powers talking to the 2014 Writers of the Future winners

Meeting with Author Tim Powers before the workshops begin

Anaea’s object for the 24-hr Challenge!

Anaea’s object for the 24-hr Challenge!

Anaea Lay walking in Hollywood

And they were off to begin writing

All writers turned in their stories for the 24-hr challenge, and next up was the “Big Reveal” where the writers scanned the room of illustrations and picked the one that was for their story. Anaea’s story “These Walls of Despair” was illustrated by 18-year-old Bernardo Mota. To say she was impressed with the illustration would be an understatement.

The illustration for Anaea’s story, by Bernardo Mota

The illustration for Anaea’s story, by Bernardo Mota

Anaea (left) with Bernardo (right) and the illustration for her story

Anaea (left) with Bernardo (right) and the illustration for her story

Following the big reveal, all winners travelled in style to the Bang Printing Plant to see the Writers of the Future Volume 30 coming off the press! They each got their own copy right there as a souvenir.

Group shogt of 2014 winners

At the Bang Printing Plant

At the Bang Printing Plant

Winners get an up-close view of the printing and binding process

Writers of the Future Volume 30

The Writers of the Future Volume 30

Anaea (left) and fellow writer Megan O’Keefe (right) after touring the plant

Anaea (left) and fellow writer Megan O’Keefe (right) after touring the plant

The week came to a close with the black-tie awards ceremony held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre of Los Angeles on April 13th!

After getting full hair and makeup done, the winners were ready to walk the red carpet.

C Stuart Hardwick on red carpet with all winners

All winners on the red carpet

Anaea walking to the stage to receive her award

 Anaea walking to the stage to receive her award

Anaea Lay on stage

 

Anaea Lay on stage receiving her award

 

 

Following the ceremony, Anaea and the rest of the winners took part in their first book signing!

Anaea signing books after the event

Writers signing books

Anaea will be holding a book signing at her local bookstore A Room of One’s Own in Madison, WI on May 8th at 6pm. She will also be at WisCon on May 26th doing signings there. If you’re local or attending WisCon, stop by and get her to sign your copy!

For more on Anaea, visit her blog http://anaealay.com

 

Kristie Kim walking to stage

Kristie Kim – Winning Illustrator of 2014!

Kristie Kim was one of 12 winners in this year’s Illustrators of the Future Contest and was awarded at the L. Ron Hubbard Awards Ceremony at the Ebell Theatre of Los Angeles on April 13th.

Kristie, who has studied illustration at North Carolina University, now works as an intern at Disney.

Kristie Kim on the stage

Kristie receiving her award at the ceremony

Her winning illustration was for the story “What Moves the Sun and Other Stars” by author K.C. Norton which will be featured in the Writers of the Future Volume 30, releasing May 6th.

Kristie Kim screen title

Kristie’s winning illustration, as shown on screen at the ceremony

Kristie Kim artwork

Another winning illustration

Writers of the Future Volume 30

Writers of the Future Volume 30

Following the ceremony, Kristie took part in a book signing with all other winning writers and illustrators.

Kristie Kim signing books after the event

Signing books

Kristie is holding a book signing at Barnes & Noble Bookseller in Raleigh, North Carolina May 8th at 6pm. If you’re in the area, stop by and get her to sign your copy of Writers of the Future Vol 30!

For her award in the Illustrators of the Future contest, the North Raleigh News ran a featured article on Kristie showing her illustrations.

We wish you all the best of luck in your illustrations!

Kristie Kim media

The North Raleigh News article

Cassandre on the red carpet

Cassandre Bolan – Winning Illustrator of 2014!

Cassandre Bolan was one of 12 winners in this year’s Illustrators of the Future Contest and was awarded at the L. Ron Hubbard Awards Ceremony at the Ebell Theatre of Los Angeles on April 13th.

She was flown into Hollywood the week before the awards ceremony to attend workshops led by industry professionals and contest judges such as Cliff Nielsen, Ron Lindahn, Val Lindahn and Robert Castillo.

Cassandre was checked into the Loew’s Hotel, located right on Hollywood Blvd.

She was checked into the Loew’s Hotel, located right on Hollywood Blvd.

Cassandre arriving to worshop

Meeting Author Services staff and contest administrators

Cassandre in workshop

With contest judges Ron and Val Lindahn at a workshop

Mid week the illustrators presented their artwork to the writers in what is called “The Big Reveal.” The illustrators have each created a piece for one of the winning writer’s stories, and the writers don’t know what it looks like or who created it. The illustrations are then laid out on display and the writers have to find the piece that was created for their story.

Her illustrations were for the stories “Beneath the Surface of Two Kills” by Shauna O’Meara and “Push Bike Legion” by Timothy Jordan and will be featured in the Writers of the Future Volume 30, releasing May 7th.

Cassandre with writer Shauna O’Meara

Writer Shauna O’Meara finds the illustration for her story!

Cassandre with writer Shauna O’Meara

Cassandre with writer Shauna O’Meara

Cassandre Bolan illustration for “Beneath the Surface of Two Kills”

Illustration for “Beneath the Surface of Two Kills”

Cassandre with writer Timothy Jordan

Cassandre with writer Timothy Jordan

Cassandre Bolan illustration for “Push Bike Legion”

Illustration for “Push Bike Legion”

Writers of the Future Volume 30

Writers of the Future volume 30

The next day the writers and illustrators went to the Bang Printing Plant to see the Writers of the Future Volume 30 coming off the press! Following this, they were toured through the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

Writers of the Future 30 books being bound

The books as they are being made at Bang Printing Plant

Inside the Challenger Center

Inside the Challenger Center

Cassandre Bolan in NASA suit

Cassandre suits up

The next day was the much anticipated awards ceremony! After getting hair and makeup done, the winners were ready to make their debut on the red carpet!

Cassandre on the red carpet

Cassandre on the Red Carpet

Red carpet arrival

All winners on the red carpet

Cassandre Bolan walking to stage

Cassandre Bolan walking to stage

Cassandre Bolan on stage

Cassandre receiving her award at the ceremony

After receiving her award, she took part in her first book signing at the hall along with all other winning writers and illustrators!

Writers of the Future after party

It was a packed hall for the book signing!

Cassandre will be holding another book signing at Barnes & Noble in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania May 7th at 11am. If you’re local, stop by and see her!

To see more of her illustrations, go to her website at http://www.cassandrebolan.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winners and guests before the Ceremony

Writers of the Future Awards Ceremony 2014!

The day had finally arrived when all winners would walk the red carpet, receive their award and deliver their speeches in front of over 1,200 attendees. They would find out who the grand prize winners were and all winners would take part in their first book signing.

In the early afternoon the cameramen and TV crews arrived, set up their equipment for when the winners, past winners, judges and VIPs would walk the red carpet.

Soon enough the guests arrived – the men in sharp tuxes and the women in colorful gowns. Meanwhile the winners walked the red carpet, posed for pictures, and received interviews. The first call was made over the speakers; the show would be starting soon!

C Stuart Hardwick on red carpet with all winners

2014 Winning Writers and Illustrators on the red Carpet

Once the final call was made and everybody was seated, the lights were dimmed and the music started. The Hollywood Hotshots came on stage with singers Drew Seeley and Cassie Simone performing “Living Off the Page.” After a phenomenal performance, emcee Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, walked on stage welcomed by applause from the audience.

Drew Seeley and Cassie Simone performing "Living Off the Page"

Drew Seeley and Cassie Simone performing “Living Off the Page”

Emcee Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services

Emcee Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services

Guest speakers included engineer and NASA Astronaut Leland D. Melvin who spoke about the importance of achieving your dreams and never giving up and the important role science fiction plays in those dreams, Award-Winning author Nancy Kress who presented a special recognition to Writers and Illustrators of the Future on behalf of Writers Digest magazine,  Director of Author Relations Kobo, Inc. Mark Lefebvre who spoke about the past and future of publishing, and Orson Scott Card who received his Lifetime Achievement Award.  And the speeches given by all winners accepting their awards were, as usual, amazing in their sincerity and hope for their future success.  Then once the book was released, the grand prize winners were announced.  Trevor Smith’s grand prize speech was even better than his first speech–something that has rarely occurred (as winners have already given their thanks and recognized those who helped them along the way).   Then the grand prize writer winner envelope was delivered  by drone and announced an emotional Randy Henderson, who like Trevor, gave a great acceptance speech.  All in all, the show was blow-away in every aspect!

Guest Speaker Leland D. Melvin

Guest Speaker Leland D. Melvin

Orson Scott Card receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

Orson Scott Card receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

Winning writer Oleg Kazantsev walking to the stage to accept his award

Winning writer Oleg Kazantsev walking to the stage to accept his award

Winning illustrator Kirbi Fagan walking to the stage to receive her award

Winning illustrator Kirbi Fagan walking to the stage to receive her award

Drone delivering the envelope with the Gold Award Winners names

Drone delivering the envelope with the Gold Award Winners names

Randy Henderson wins the Golden Pen Award

Randy Henderson wins the Golden Pen Award

Following the show the  guests walked from the theatre to the book signing hall. There was a stunning display of illustrations from this year’s winners, surrounded by flower bouquets and crystal chandeliers. The winning writers made their way to the book-signing table, while the winning illustrators took their place next to their winning piece and so began the signing!  Most notable was when award winning authors Orson Scott Card and Tim Powers circled the table, asking each winner for their autograph!

Writers of the Future after party

The hall where the book signing was held

Writers signing books

Writers signing books

Kristie Kim signing books after the event

Illustrators signing books

 Award-winning author Orson Scott Card getting his book signed by winners.

 Award-winning author Orson Scott Card getting his book signed by winners.

 Award-winning author Orson Scott Card getting his book signed by winners.

 

Award-winning author Tim Powers getting his book signed by winners.

Award-winning author Tim Powers getting his book signed by winners.

 

Finally the crowd thinned at the end of the night, and all winners went back to the hotel to prepare for their final day.