On the evening of Friday, October 22, 2021 Hollywood returned to its resplendent glamour and elegance with the 36th and 37th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards Gala for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex.
Due to delays and postponements over the last year and a half as a result of the worldwide health pandemic, the awards show for 2020 and the awards show for 2021, were combined into one evening celebrating writer and illustrator winners from both years. Four Grand Prize Winners were announced at the Awards Gala.
The Grand Prize Winners included:
- C. Winspear, a writer from Blacktown, NSW, Australia, was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 36th Annual Writers of the Future Contest.
- Anh Le, an illustrator originally from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam was named The First-Ever Vietnamese Grand Prize Winner of the 31st Annual Illustrators of the Future Contest.
- Barbara Lund, a writer from Draper, UT, was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 37th Annual Writers of the Future Contest.
- Dan Watson, an illustrator from Earley, Reading, Berkshire, UK, was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 32nd Annual Illustrators of the Future Contest.
A capacity crowd of 300 people attended the Black-Tie Gala. Presented by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press, the theme for the two-and-half-hour awards show was a Fantastical Phoenix Voyage.
John Goodwin, President of Galaxy Press, said: “It’s so wonderful to see people live and in-person again! We were wondering when this night would ever come, and now, here we are! Thank you for being with us to celebrate all these immensely talented and creative up-and-coming writers and illustrators of the future in Science Fiction and Fantasy. We are proud that Mr. Hubbard’s legacy now celebrates nearly four decades promoting the arts, and welcoming diversity, ethnicity, creativity, and equality, with no age limits. Talent is talent and needs to be recognized and publicly acknowledged.”
This year’s event, an Invitation Only function, was streamed live via the website, www.writersofthefuture.com, from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. PDT on Friday evening, October 22, 2021. Goodwin added: “According to United Public Radio Network, this year’s awards show was seen by 3.3 million people in 100 countries around the world.”
C. Winspear, Grand Prize Winner of the 36th Annual Writers of the Future Contest, said: “This is not just an encouragement for me personally; this is, of course, encouragement for my fellow writers here in Australia and across the world… There is nothing like this competition. There’s nothing in this time where it’s getting increasingly harder to get a story or a novel published that celebrates new talent the way this contest does. So thank you to Author Services and the big man L. Ron Hubbard for starting this award.”
Ahn Le, Grand Prize Winner of the 31st Annual Illustrators of the Future Contest, said: “This is an incredible experience I will never forget. I was shocked to hear that I had won. My parents brought me here to the United States from Vietnam in 2007 so I would have more opportunities. I didn’t speak any English at that time. I am so grateful my parents are proud of me and that I have made them happy. In winning this award, I am so honored to represent my culture. If you have passion and drive, you can definitely succeed!”
Barbara Lund, Grand Prize Winner of the 37th Annual Writers of the Future Contest, said: “I’m stunned! The quality of writing is so high in these Contests. I did not expect this. Thank you very much!”
Dan Watson, Grand Prize Winner of the 32nd Annual Illustrators of the Future Contest, said: “I’d like to thank L. Ron Hubbard and Galaxy Press for creating and organizing this event. Thank you to all of my friends all over the world. I love the Fantasy and Science Fiction community—the writing, the people.”
Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. said, “The motif for this year’s awards show was a ‘Fantastical Phoenix Voyage.’ Our book covers for both Volumes 36 and 37, designed by illustrator judge Echo Chernik, feature a classical Phoenix, a beautiful mythic firebird creature filled with symbolism used in historical fantasy. Our writer judge, Jody Lynn Nye, brought to life the Phoenix as a character named ‘Melana,’ realized in Volume 36 in her story, ‘The Phoenix’s Peace’ and in Volume 37 in her story, ‘The Phoenixes’ War.’”
The Phoenix is a large bird, usually with red and gold feathers, which is associated with fire and regenerates itself by burning up into ash, being reborn from those ashes, symbolizing hope and rebirth.
Coordinating Writer Contest Judge David Farland and Fellow Writer Judge Tim Powers announced writer C. Winspear as the 2020 Golden Pen Award winner, letting him know during the online live broadcast that a check for $5,000 will be mailed to him in Australia since he wasn’t able to attend the awards show in person. C. Winspear’s winning story, “The Trade,” was illustrated by Arthur Bowling.
David Farland and Tim Powers then announced writer Barbara Lund as the 2021 Golden Pen Award winner while presenting her with a check for $5,000. Barbara Lund’s winning story, “Sixers,” was illustrated by Will Knight.
Coordinating Illustrator Contest Judge Echo Chernik and newly installed Illustrator Judge Brittany (Bea) Jackson announced illustrator Anh Le as the 2020 Golden Brush Award winner while presenting him with a check for $5,000. Anh Le illustrated writer Storm Humbert’s story, “Stolen Sky.”
Echo Chernik and Brittany (Bea) Jackson then announced illustrator Dan Watson as the 2021 Golden Brush Award winner letting him know during the online live broadcast that a check for $5,000 will be mailed to him in the UK since he wasn’t able to attend the awards show in person. Dan Watson illustrated writer Luke Wildman’s story, “How to Steal the Plot Armor.”
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, followed by a delectable three-course meal. The Awards Show was followed by a Book Signing and Reception in the plush Foyer of the Taglyan.
The Awards Show opened with singer Crystal Starr, garbed as the mythical priestess, ‘Melana,’ pictured on the covers of Volumes 36 and 37, singing Pauline Frechette’s (aka Raven Kane) song “We’ll Never Die,” was arranged by Frechette’s husband, David Campbell. Starr was backed by EM Cirque Dancers, Markus Shields, and Alan Ascencio. Event Emcee, Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. introduced Keynote Speaker, Toni Weisskopf, Publisher of Baen Books.
John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press, unveiled the 36th and 37th Volumes of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future. Volume 36, edited by David Farland, features 24 award-winning Authors and Illustrators, Bonus Short Stories by Jody Lynn Nye, Nnedi Okorafor, and Katherine Kurtz, along with Art and Writing Tips by Sean Williams, Mike Perkins, Echo Chernik, and L. Ron Hubbard. Volume 37, edited by David Farland, features 26 award-winning Authors and Illustrators, Bonus Short Stories by Jody Lynn Nye, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, including a story written by L. Ron Hubbard illustrated by Ahn Le, and Art and Writing Tips by Orson Scott Card and Craig Elliott. The new anthologies are 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 her Keynote Address, Toni Weisskopf had this to say: “We, all of us here—the bright stars of the future together with your experienced judges and workshop coaches—we are a community. Science Fiction is famously ‘hard.’ It deals with hard science; it’s hard to write. Does this mean that Fantasy is easy? Some people will tell you that. Not me.
“I won’t tell you Fantasy is easy. As that famous comedian Alan Swann said, ‘Dying is easy! Comedy is hard!’ So is Fantasy if you want to do it right. It seems to me that if Science Fiction is about learning how to understand and control the universe, from the nanotech level all the way up to gravity and deep time, maybe Fantasy is about coming to terms with not being able to control the universe. And that ain’t easy.
“They are complementary approaches to fiction, two sides of the same coin—and that may be why so many writers write both Science Fiction and Fantasy—L. Ron Hubbard among them.”
Weisskopf continued: “So—lift each other up. Share your experiences with newer writers and artists, just as the Writers of the Future has helped each of you. Keep the chain of pay it forward going. Include everyone in your future. Keep the conversations going! And most importantly, be proud to tell your tales of brave knights and heroic courage, and show competent, good people solving problems. And if that’s not how you work— show the dark side of ‘if this goes on.’ Tell us where we don’t want to go. But mostly: lift each other up, make our futures brighter, not darker. We’re going to need it.”
Awards for each of the 2020 and 2021 Quarterly Finalists of the Writers and Illustrators Contests were presented by renowned judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The event also featured an In Memoriam segment in honor of Mike Resnick, a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Recipient and a longtime writer contest judge and Ron Lindahn, a longtime illustrator judge.
The 12 Quarterly Winners of the 2020 Writer’s Contest who were each presented with trophies and cash prizes included: Andrew Dibble of Madison, WI; F.J. Bergmann of Madison, WI; Sonny Zae of Plano, TX; Katie Livingston of Lawton, OK; Zach Be of Wheaton, MD; Tim Boiteau of Bloomfield Hills, MI; J.L. George of Pontypool, Torfaen, UK; Michael Gardner of Amaroo, ACT, Australia; Storm Humbert of Westland, MI; C. Winspear of Blacktown, NSW, Australia; David A. Elsensohn of Los Angeles, CA; and Leah Ning of Herndon, VA.
The 12 Quarterly Winners of the 2020 Illustrator’s Contest who were each presented with trophies and cash prizes included: Brock Aguirre of Sammamish, WA; Daniel Bitton of Hollywood, FL; Ben Hill of Mims, FL; Phoebe Rothfeld of Chico, CA; John Dale Javier (Ayang) of La Plata, MD; Heather A. Laurence of Sault Sainte Marie, MI; Mason Matak of Tehran, Iran; Irmak (Max) Çavun of Bursa, Turkey; Aidin Andrews of Bellingham, WA; Kaitlyn Goldberg of Grand Rapids, MI; Arthur Bowling of Columbia, MD and Anh Le originally of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and now of Maryville, MO.
The 14 Quarterly Winners of the 2021 Writer’s Contest who were each presented with trophies and cash prizes included: Barbara Lund of Draper, UT; Sara Fox of Marietta, GA; K.D. Julicher of Fernley, NV; Christopher Bowthorpe of Lehi, UT; Anj Dockery of Frisco, TX; Elizabeth Chatsworth of Westport, CT; Trent Walters of Springfield, MO; Luke Wildman of Indianapolis, IN; Erik Lynd of Tacoma, WA; John M. Campbell of Denver, CO; Emma Washburn of Matthews, NC; Ryan Cole of Glen Allen, VA; Brittany Rainsdon of Blackfoot, ID (Published Finalist) and Elaine Midcoh of Pembroke Pines, FL (Published Finalist).
The 12 Quarterly Winners of the 2021 Illustrator’s Contest who were each presented with trophies and cash prizes included: Jennifer Bruce of New Hudson, MI; Isabel Gibney of Bethesda, MD; Madolyn Locke of Atlanta, GA; Stephen Spinas of Oranjezicht, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa; Will Knight of Los Angeles, CA; Rupam Grimoeuvre of Koregaon Park, Pune, Maharashtra, India; Mariah Salinas of Apopka, FL; Dan Watson of Earley, Reading, Berkshire, UK; Jeff Weiner of Las Vegas, NV; Shiyi Yu originally of Ningbo, China and now of Rego Park, NY; André Mata of Esquerdo, Póvoa de Santa Iria, Lisbon, Portugal and Sethe Nguyen of Houston, TX.
Celebrities and VIPS in attendance at the event included: Kate Linder, Steven L. Sears, Jeffrey Morris, Pauline Frachette (aka Raven Kane), David Campbell, Dr. Pamela Gurley, Jeff Rector, Jim and Tamra Meskimen, Shelby Parks, Cheyanna Zubas, Isaac Anthony, Mahpara Khan, Kary English, Emily Goodwin and former Contest Writer and Illustrator winners, Brittany (Bea) Jackson, Brian C. Hailes, Darci Stone, Eric James Stone, Martin Shoemaker, Wulf Moon and Steve Pantazis.
Contest Writer Judges in attendance included: Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland (Wolverton), Eric Flint, Nina Kiriki-Hoffman, Nancy Kress, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Jody Lynn Nye (Writer of Volume 36 Cover Story: “The Phoenix’s Peace” and Volume 37 Cover Story: “The Phoenixes’ War,” Tim Powers, Dean Wesley Smith and S.M. Stirling.
Contest Illustrator Judges in attendance included: Dr. Laura Freas Beraha, Echo Chernik (Cover Illustrator of Volumes 36 and 37), Brittany (Bea) Jackson (New Judge), Rob Prior, Dan dos Santos and Tom Wood (New Judge).
Distinguished Writer Contest Judges who weren’t able to be in attendance at the Awards Show include Dr. Doug Beason, Dr. Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, Brian Herbert, Katherine Kurtz, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Brandon Sanderson, Dr. Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, and Dr. Sean Williams.
Distinguished Illustrator Contest Judges who weren’t able to be in attendance at the Awards Show include Lazarus Chernik, Ciruelo, Vincent DiFate, Diane Dillon, Bob Eggleton, Craig Elliott, Larry Elmore, Val Lakey Lindahn, Stephen Martiniere, Gary Meyer, Mike Perkins, Sergey Poyarkov, Shaun Tan and Stephen Youll.
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 is given cash awards. Grand Prize Winners receive an additional $5,000. The Contest flies out all winners to Los Angeles for an expense-paid, week-long workshop given by Contest judges and culminates in a Black Tie Gala Awards event.
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 speculative fiction. Since its inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 37 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.