Over 500 fans, along with NASA astronaut Col (Ret) Rick Searfoss (now a test-pilot for XCOR Aerospace) and actress Marisol Nichols (Fox TV’s “24”), attended the 22nd L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards ceremony this past weekend at the San Diego Air & Space Museum to honor the 24 winners of the international Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests and cheer the release of "Writers of the Future Volume 22”, the book featuring their first professional sale.
Dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns, each of the winners were presented trophies by contest judges at the ceremony. Awards to the winners for Story of the Year and Illustration of the Year were presented by Rick Searfoss and Marisol Nichols.
Prior to the awards ceremony, the winners were flown in by Author Services, administrator of the contests, from as far away as Australia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to attend a week long workshop taught by contest judges, each one an experienced professional in the field: Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth for the writers workshop; and Ron & Val Lindahn for the illustrators workshop. Sound advice based on hard-won experience was additionally given by such science fiction and fantasy greats as Anne McCaffrey, Kevin J. Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, Robert Sawyer, Sean Williams and Stephen Hickman (all Contest judges), providing necessary tools for making careers out of writing and illustration.
The intensive mentoring process is working—past winners of the Contest have had over 300 novels and more that 3,000 short stories published including New York Times bestsellers. The Contests were initiated by L. Ron Hubbard in 1983 shortly after returning to the field of science fiction with his bestseller Battlefield Earth.
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 to launch their careers.
For more information and a summary of the 22 years of the contests, go to www.writersofthefuture.com.