Despite being friends with writing judge Tim Powers for years, entering the contest I'm-not-sure-how-many times, and going to Clarion West with contest winner Jordan Lapp, last week marked my first time attending the Writers of the Future awards. For some reason I always thought it wouldn't be worthwhile. But here are a few things I hadn't realized:
1) Free book! I hope this doesn't make me seem greedy or materialistic, but I will do a lot of things for a free book, including driving into Hollywood at 6:00pm. As an added bonus, the book is actually good. It would have to be, right?
2) This event is a big deal. For those of you who might not know, Writers (and Illustrators) of the Future is a contest that was founded by L. Ron Hubbard for emerging writers (and illustrators) of speculative fiction. It's one of the only contests that is free to enter and judged purely off of merit (submissions are blind). Winning this award comes with publication in the book and a cash prize. That is all stuff I knew. What I didn't know is that the ceremony is like the Academy Awards, down to the seat-fillers. In fact, the room in the Roosevelt hotel where it's held was the site of the first Academy Awards. Or so I'm told. The winners are all treated like stars, and being writers and artists they're all pretty much blown away by the attention, in an adorable way.
3) Everyone involved in the contest is the nicest person ever.
4) The writer's contest is a sausage-fest. I don't know if this is always the case, but this year there was only one female winner. I also don't know if this has any relevance at all; it was just something I noticed.
Congratulations to all of this year's winners, but especially to the ones I knew prior to last Sunday, Keffy R.M. Kehrli and Ryan Harvey!