Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Writers of the Future: Discovering New Talent for Nearly 40 Years ~ by Emily Goodwin

First of all, a big Thank You to Kristine for having me on her podcast. I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you a little more about the Writers of the Future Contest that has launched the careers of so many bestselling authors. And the new and not exclusive online workshop we spoke about.


Let’s go back to 1983 when it all started. Long before America’s Got Talent or American Idol, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future discovered hot new talent through an international amateur writing contest judged by the masters in the field of science fiction and fantasy. Founding judges included Algis Budrys, who served as the original Coordinating Judge, Dr. Gregory Benford, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Williamson, and Roger Zelazny. Shortly after them followed Frederik Pohl and Gene Wolfe who joined Algis teaching at the first workshop in Taos, New Mexico.


For the second year’s workshop, Budrys enlisted Tim Powers and Orson Scott Card to help teach the new writers. That year, one of their students was David Farland, who won the grand prize Golden Pen award. He has since become a bestselling author with more than fifty novels published and is now the Writers of the Future Coordinating Judge.

Other judges for the Writers of the Future Contest are among the best-known names in science fiction: Kevin J. Anderson, Dr. Doug Beason, Hal Clement, Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert, Dr. Yoji Kondo, Nancy Kress, Anne McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, C.L. Moore, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, Jody Lynn Nye, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Mike Resnick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Brandon Sanderson, Dr. Robert J. Sawyer, Dr. Charles Sheffield, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, and Roger Zelazny. In addition to David Farland, former Contest winners have achieved success in the field and have since become judges including Eric Flint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Nnedi Okorafor, K.D. Wentworth, Dr. Sean Williams, and Dean Wesley Smith.

The Writers of the Future Contest has been developing new professional writers in the fields of science fiction and fantasy for nearly four decades. It is free and open for anyone to enter with no restrictions on age, race, color, or creed. In fact, the Contest is judged blind, which means the writer’s name is removed before the story is seen by the judges. The prize money ranges from $500 to $1,000 with an additional $5,000 for the grand prize winner. 

Winning the Contest includes receiving a world-class workshop to accompany the awards ceremony. Twelve writer winners are flown out to Hollywood for a week-long workshop and gala awards event where each receives a trophy and the final Golden Pen award is announced. All 12 winners are also published in the annual anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future. Volume 36 is out in stores now.

Winning the Writers of the Future Contest can put wings on an aspiring writer’s career. Editors, agents, and publishers all take note of the Contest winners.

The Contest has grown into the most prestigious of its kind: the only competition based on merit alone. Each year holds its own magic, its own wonder, its own discoveries.

The New Free Writing Workshop:

A new addition was made in 2020. Shortly after the safer-at-home restrictions started going into place worldwide, we took the basics of the Writers of the Future Workshop and put it into video/essay format and posted it online for all.

The free intermediate level writing course includes essays, assignments, and 13 video presentations featuring Writers of the Future judges: David Farland, Tim Powers, and Orson Scott Card. Contest Judge Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game) stated, “I hope viewers will be encouraged to write, and to write better. There are great stories as yet unwritten; I hope the viewers of this course will write them so I can read them.”

The workshop instructors walk an aspiring writer through the steps to write a short story making full use of L. Ron Hubbard’s timeless articles on writing. That the course is free and encourages writers to complete and submit their story, makes it perfect not only for an aspiring author but anyone wanting to be able to write stories. 


If you are interested in signing up for the writing workshop, you can do so at Free Online Workshop.

To enter the Writers of the Future or find out more about the Contest, go to

About Emily Goodwin:

Emily is the Vice President of Public Affairs Author Services, Inc. based in Los Angeles, California. She has been involved with book publishing since 2007, including the international Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contests. She is the producer for the Writers of the Future Annual Achievement Awards as well as the online writing workshop. She has been active with the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) as a contest judge for the Benjamin Franklin Awards. She is involved in community activities in the greater Los Angeles area and has been Vice President Community Outreach for the Hollywood Christmas Parade since 2014. Emily has also been an Honorary Commander for the US Air Force since 2018 and as of 2020, the US Space Force. 

Listen to Emily Goodwin's podcast episode here.

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