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Writers of the Future

Writers of the Future

Writers of the Future ( WOTF ) is a science fiction and fantasy story that was established by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1980s. A sister contest, Illustrators of the Future, presents awards for science fiction art. Hubbard characterized the contest as a way of “giving back” to the field that had defined his professional writing life. The contest has no entry fee and is the highest-paying contest for amateur science fiction and fantasy writers. Notable past winners of WOTF include Stephen Baxter , Karen Joy Fowler , Alan Gardner James , Nina Kiriki Hoffman , Jay Lake, Michael H. Payne , Patrick Rothfuss , Robert Reed , Dean Wesley Smith , Sean Williams , Dave Wolverton , Nancy Farmer , and David Zindell . [1] The winning stories are published in the yearly anthology L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of Future . [2] The contest enjoys a favorable reputation in the science fiction community, yet its connection with the Church of Scientology has caused some controversy.

Contest rules and procedures

Writers of the Future

The Writers of the Future (WOTF) may be entered, and there are no, or few, professional publications. The contest rules state That entrants can not Have Had published “a novel or short novel , or more than one novelette , gold more than three short stories , in Any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits. ” Thus, works that are less than 3,000 words and less 6c / word, do not count as “professional” publications. Stories of up to 17,000 words in length can be submitted to the contest. Poems, screenplays, non-fiction, etc., are not eligible. [3]

Manuscripts are judged with the authors’ names deleted, and are separated by quarterfinal and semifinal awards by the Coordinating Judge (formerly KD Wentworth , currently Dave Wolverton , and originally Algis Budrys). Eight finalists are a panel of professional writers, who determines the top three awards. Prizes are $ 1000 (first place), $ 750 (second) and $ 500 (third). The process is then repeated the next quarter. At the end of the annual contest, the “Gold Award,” which includes an additional $ 5000. The first, second and third-place winners and others are selected for the other finalist stories are published annually, for which the writers receive additional compensation for publication rights. [3] Thus, a large prize-winning author can make over $ 6000 for a single story. [4]

Some finalist stories not considered among the top three (in effect, the fourth or fifth placers) may be included in the annual anthology. These are called “published finalists.” The writers are compensated for publication, but are not considered winners and receive no prize money, but are eligible to re-enter the contest. Often writers will repeat the contest, quarter after quarter, until they either win or become ineligible for publications elsewhere.

Illustrators of the Future

An artists’ contest, the Illustrators of the Future (IOTF), was added in 1988. Like the WOTF contest, the Illustrators is open to amateurs. The Rules state: “The Contest is open to those who have not previously published a black-and-white story illustrations, or more than one process-color painting, in the media distributed nationally to the general public, such as magazines or books sold at newsstands, or books sold in stores merchandising to the general public. [3]

Entrants submit a portfolio of pieces of artwork, which are circulated among the judges. Up to three winners are selected every quarter, each given a prize of $ 500. Unlike the Writers, the Illustrators are not ranked. After the completion of the year, each of the twelve winners is awarded one of the winners, and one of the winners. A single big prize, also called the Gold Award, is accompanied by a prize of $ 5000 – judging is based only on the final illustration, not the initial portfolio. While the art is judged according to standard artistic considerations (composition, draftsmanship, consistency of lighting, sense of wonder, facial expressions, etc.), a key consideration in the final judging is whether or not the art would make the viewer want to read the accompanying story. [3] The art is also included in the annual anthology, and illustrators are additionally compensated.

Awards and workshop

No official tallies are given for the number of entrants in a contest, but it is believed that the writers contest every quarter. citation needed ] Thus, the Illustration Judges are sometimes unable to find three winners, and only pick one or two. (This is not a problem for the Writing judges.) Should the illustration winners number less than twelve in a year, each illustrator is – as usual – assigned to a single story to be considered for determining who wins the Gold Award. Returning the assigned illustration does not directly correlate to winning the Gold Award, but those artists who are so allowed the opportunity to illustrate additional stories.

All winners and published finalists are invited to attend the annual week-long writers ‘and artists’ workshops and awards gala at the invitation and expense of the contest administration. Tuxedoes and gowns are worn by the judges, administrators, and winners for the gala awards (but members of the general public are casually attired), and various Hollywood actors in general, in addition to prominent science fiction authors and artists. These include the present judges in the Lifetime Achievement Award. While it is not necessary to wait for the week-long festivities and seminars, it is thought that the market for the Gold Award may advance their cause by showing professionalism and hard work at that time; for the contest, however, refute this,

Prominent judges and winners

Many noted writers and artists have judged WotF awards, or have won themselves. Notable writing judges-have included: Algis Budrys , Gregory Benford , Kevin J. Anderson , Orson Scott Card , Jack Williamson , Nina Kiriki Hoffman , Brian Herbert , KD Wentworth , Tim Powers , Robert J. Sawyer , Frederik Pohl , Jerry Pournelle , Andre Norton , Larry Niven , and Anne McCaffrey . [5] Prominent art judges have included:Bob Eggleton , Frank Kelly Freas , Frank Frazetta , Will Eisner , Edd Cartier , Stephen Youll , Stephen Hickman , Echo Chernik , and Leo and Diane Dillon . [5] Judges receive only payment for their efforts ($ 25 per story adjudicated). quote needed ]

Winners and published finalists Stephen Baxter , Karen Joy Fowler , Carl Frederick , James Alan Gardner , Jim C. Hines , Jay Lake , David Levine , Syne Mitchell , Nnedi Okorafor , Michael H. Payne , Brian Plant , Robert Reed , Bruce Holland Rogers , Patrick Rothfuss , Wesley Smith Dean , Catriona Sparks , Sean Tinsley , Mary Turzillo ,Sean Williams , Dave Wolverton , David Zindell , and the artists Shaun Tan and Frank Wu . [6]

Connections to Scientology

The original sponsor of the contest was Bridge Publications , Inc., the publishing arm of the Church of Scientology . Prior to the 2004 contest, the sponsorship moved to Author Services Inc. under the name of the Galaxy Press , which was spun off from Hubbard’s Bridge to Publish fiction and the anthologies contest. quote needed ]

The contest has been characterized as a vehicle for Hubbard himself, who returned to science fiction writing with Battlefield Earth at the same time. On the covers of the annual WOTF anthologies, Hubbard’s name appears “above the title”, and at least not prominent. The prominence of Hubbard ‘s name and the history of the contest, and the fact that it is a part of a campaign by the Church of Scientology to promote Hubbard’ s status in science fiction and literary communities. [7]

Entrance or winning the contest does not require or imply endorsement or membership in the Church of Scientology, and the contest of a known range of well-known fiction writers (see Judges and Winners above) who have no relationship to Scientology . [8]

According to Joni Labaqui, Director of the Writers and Illustrators Contests, the awards for the contest-including cash prizes, the gala awards ceremony and the weeklong pre-awards festivities-come from the Hubbard estate. The Hubbard is one of the world’s most important books, including his fiction. Labaqui also reports that staff of Author Services Inc. is entirely made up of Scientologists. [9]

However, records with the United States Patent and Trademark Office show that the rights to the writers of the future name were transferred from the L. Ron Hubbard estate (“Family Trust-B”) to the Church of Spiritual Technology in 1989, [10]. ] and under the 1993 IRS closing agreement with the Church of Scientology, the Hubbard estate est devenu hand of the Church of Spiritual Technology, “Scientology-related entity.” [11]

See also

  • Author Services Inc.
  • Bridge Publications (Scientology)


  1. Jump up^ “Honor Roll from Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest” . 2001.
  2. Jump up^ Edited by Algis Budrys (2007), L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of Future Vol 23 , Galaxy Press, ISBN  1-59212-398-8
  3. ^ Jump up to:d Contest Rules , Writers of the Future website
  4. Jump up^ Buckell, Tobias, “Advance Survey Author,” version 2.0 (Oct 2005), retrieved December 25, 2011.
  5. ^ Jump up to:b The Judges , Writers of the Future website, archived from the original is 2007-09-09 , retrieved March 2008 Check in time losses: ( help ) |access-date=
  6. Jump up^ Winners & Awards , Writers of the Future web site, 2006, archived from the original on 2007-09-09 , retrieved March 2008 Check date values ​​in:( help ) |access-date=
  7. Jump up^ Clute, John ; Nicholls, Peter (1995), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction , St. Martin’s Press, p. 1351, ISBN  0-312-13486-X
  8. Jump up^ Acclaim For: Writers of the Future , Writers of the Future web site
  9. Jump up^ Wu, Frank (May 23, 2006). “Illustrators and Writers of the Future Contest” . Letter from Joni Labaqui (bottom of page) .
  10. Jump up^ “Trademark Assignment Abstract of Title” . United States Patent and Trademark Office . 1989-01-03 . Retrieved 2008-02-26 .
  11. Jump up^ “Scientology Settles With IRS”, Wall Street Journal , 1997-12-30