Writers and Illustrators of the Future: Winners Announced for 2009


This year’s winners in the quarterly/annual Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest were announced yesterday. As always, the winners come from around the world and are awarded cash prizes, free travel and accommodations to the annual awards presentation, week-long professional workshop and guaranteed publication in an annual anthology. Grand prize winners for writing and illustration will be announced at the annual awards ceremony to be held in August.

“It’s amazing to me that a good 60%–70% of the winners go on with successful careers in writing, and several have become best-selling authors themselves, said New York Times best-selling author and contest judge Kevin J. Anderson (Dune prequels, Star Wars, X-Files).

Throughout the Contest’s 25-year history, more than 250 writers and nearly 200 illustrators have been recognized as winners, according to Labaqui. They’ve gone on to publish over 300 novels and 3,000 short stories as well as thousands of published illustrations. Former Writers of the Future Contest winners listed on the New York Times best-seller’s list include Jo Beverly, Nancy Farmer, Karen Joy Fowler, Sean Williams, Dave Wolverton and Patrick Rothfuss.

The contest was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard 25 years ago. Because of this, I was initially skeptical of the contest, but further research revealed that it is not connected to Hubbard’s Christian Science ideology. That and seeing who the contest judges were made me a believer in the weight this contest caries in the general market for SciFi and Fantasy fiction. Judges include Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Tim Powers, Robert Sawyer, Robert Silverberg, K.D. Wentworth and equally famous illustrator judges such as Frank Frazetta, Bob Eggleton, Sergey Poyarkov, Stephen Hickman and Stephen Youll.

The contest provides new writers a leg up in entering the general market. Typically only 3 (yes, only three!) of every 10,000 manuscripts submitted in the United States each year are published, many by established authors, according to Contest Director Joni Labaqui.

So here is the list of annual winners that will be published in this year’s anthology. Keep an eye open. You may see some of these again soon in your local bookstore.

FIRST QUARTER WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

First place: Matthew Rotundo of Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Second place: Gary Kloster of Braham, Minnesota, USA
Third place: Fiona Lehn of Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA

ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE
Oleksandra Barysheva of Matawan, New Jersey, USA
A.R. Stone of Eugene, Oregon, USA
Tobias Anson Fruge of Mesa, Arizona, USA

SECOND QUARTER WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

First place: Donald Mead of Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Second place: Mike Wood of Wirral, ENGLAND
Third place: Gra Linnaea of Eugene, Oregon, USA

ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE
Mark Payton of Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
Joshua Stewart of Rexburg, Idaho, USA
Aaron Anderson of Saratosa Springs, Utah, USA

THIRD QUARTER WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

First place: Jordan Lapp of Coquitlam, British Columbia, CANADA
Second place: C.L. Holland of Anglessey, UNITED KINGDOM
Third place: Krista Hoeppner Leahy of Brooklyn, New York, USA

ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE
Douglas Bosley of Bellingham, Washington, USA
Evan Jensen of Annapolis, Maryland, USA
Ryan Behrens of Olympia, Washington, USA

FOURTH QUARTER WRITERS OF THE FUTURE

First place: Emery Huang of Orlando, Florida, USA
Second place: Heather McDougal of Davenport, California, USA
Third place: Schon Zwakman of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, USA

ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE
Jamie Luhn of Myersville, Maryland, USA
Luke Eidenschnik of St. Joseph, Minnesota, USA
Brianne Hills of Billerica, Massachusetts, USA

Congratulations to all the winners! The anthology (Volume 25) can be pre-ordered here. Release date is September 15, 2009.

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