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Writers of the Future Contest—25 Year Retrospective

Published April 9, 2010 in Business , Publicity , Writing - 0 Comments

Since 1995 I have been a judge for the Writers of the Future Contest, an avid supporter for much longer than that . . . and even a contestant in the early years (before I became disqualified by earning my chops as a professional writer).  Last year marked 25 years of the contest — a quarter century of amazing success in introducing and encouraging new writers in the genre.

I’ve spent the past week (and will spend the next several) sifting through archives, contacting many of the winners and judges, to put together a lavish coffee-table book, a retrospective of 25 years of the contest that is science fiction’s equivalent to American Idol.  I’m working with a whole team of dedicated researchers and compilers at Author Services and Galaxy Press.

Here you can view a video blog showcasing the flurry of work currently going on to put this book together.  (Jason isn’t the only one helping, by the way.)

The list of winners who have become big name, best-selling, and/or award-winning authors is impressive, including Dean Wesley Smith, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, David Zindell, Karen Joy Fowler, Leonard Carpenter, Howard V Hendrix, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Dave Wolverton/David Farland, Jo Beverly, KD Wentworth, Stephen Baxter, James Alan Gardner, Valerie Freireich, Stephen Woodworth, Nicholas diChario, Stoney Compton, Sean Williams, Eric Flint, Jim C. Hines, Scott Nicholson, Tobias Buckell, Kelly David McCullough, Patrick Rothfuss, David Levine, Carl Frederick, Steve Savile, Jay Lake, Ken Scholes, Diana Rowland, Aliette de Bodard, and Jeff Carlson.

In my years as a judge, I have had the pleasure of helping to instruct many of these prize winners and watch their careers take off.  The list of my fellow judges who have served the contest over the years speaks for itself: Roger Zelazny, Gene Wolfe, Jack Williamson, John Varley, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, Charles Sheffield, Robert J Sawyer, Tim Powers, Jerry Pournelle, Frederik Pohl, Andre Norton, Larry Niven, C. L. Moore, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, Hal Clement, Orson Scott Card, Ramsey Campbell, Algis Budrys, Ben Bova, Gregory Benford, among others.

I am greatly enjoying this project, reviewing the years of the event, the awards ceremonies held at the United Nations, the Kennedy Space Center, the Science Fiction Museum and Space Needle in Seattle, the Houston Space Center, the CalTech Robotics lab, Hollywood, the Air and Space Museum, and all of the talented writers who have come out of this.  I hope you’ll peruse the book when it’s released next August at the 26th annual Writers of the Future Awards ceremony.