Grand Prix Winners of “Dreamers & Dragons”: Jake Marley & Michael Michera

“Submissions for our Writer and Illustrator Contests over the years have come from 186 countries. This year we received entries from three new countries, Andorra, Seychelles and Benin. Selecting the two Grand Prize Winners from the thousands of contest entries submitted is not an easy process.”

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Los Angeles, CA  – JAKE MARLEY, a writer from Garden Grove, CA and MICHAEL MICHERA, an illustrator from Pabianice, Poland were announced as the Grand Prize Winners of “Dreamers and Dragons,” at the The 33rd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in Science Fiction and Fantasy held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, presented by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press on Sunday evening, April 2, 2017.

Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. said, “Tonight, history seems to be repeating itself. Four years ago in 2013 on this very same stage Jake Marley’s father-in-law, James Eads, was an Illustrators of the Future award winner for Volume 29, which was presented by Emmy Award-winning actress Nancy Cartwright. Now tonight, his son-in-law, Jake Marley, has been named Writer of the Year!  Michael Michera made a long journey here to the United States from Pabianice, Poland tonight, and now with his victory, he has come one step closer to his career goal of becoming a concept designer for the film industry in Hollywood!”

In keeping with the Awards Show Medieval Fantasy Theme, a Knight in Shining Armor presented the envelope to award presenters, Coordinating Judge David Farland and actress Erika Christensen, who announced writer Jake Marley as the Golden Pen Award winner while presenting him his $5,000 check.  Jake Marley’s story, “Acquisition,” was illustrated by artist Ryan Richmond.

A miniature dragon, dropping from the ceiling of the stage, delivered the winning envelope to Coordinating Judge Echo Chernik and actress Sheena Chohan, who announced illustrator Michael Michera as the Golden Brush Award winner while presenting him his $5,000 check.  Michael Michera illustrated writer C.L. Kagmi’s story, “The Drake Equation.”

Joni Labaqui added:  “Submissions for our Writer and Illustrator Contests over the years have come from 186 countries.  This year we received entries from three new countries, Andorra, Seychelles and Benin.  Selecting the two Grand Prize Winners from the thousands of contest entries submitted is not an easy process.”

Jake Marley said, “There is no better contest for new writers in the world than L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future.  This experience is unparalleled.  Read, write and finish what you write.  Persistence is invaluable.  This is an incredible honor!”

Michael Michera said, “It has been my desire to see Los Angeles for a very long time.  I have had the great fortune to meet so many people.  I am very grateful to L. Ron Hubbard and everyone who has made this possible.  My dream is to become a concept artist in the film industry.  This prize is a game changer for me!”

The awards show Stage was bedecked with a visually stunning medieval set predominated by “Wofilof,” a pre-historic period dragon with blinking red eyes and smoke emanating from his enlarged ferocious nostrils.  He is nicknamed after the contests, Writers and Illustrators of the Future.  “Wofilof” was surrounded by a castle with towers, a mote, knights in shining armor and dazzling damsels.

The awards show opened with Fire Fan Dancers performing from EMCirque, the Hollywood and Las Vegas based Circus and Entertainment Production Company, while renowned illustrators and contest judges Rob Prior and Larry Elmore painted a dragon for the viewing audience.  Event Emcee, Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. introduced keynote speaker, Pat Henry, President and Co-Founder of Dragon Con, Inc.  Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. presented the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award to renowned Science Fiction and Fantasy writer Mike Resnick.

EMCirque also performed three dance pieces during the show inspired by the stories:  “Moonlight One” by Stephen Lawson with two acrobats on bouncing stilts; “The Drake Equation” by C.L. Kagmi with an aerialist using straps and “The Fox, The Wolf and The Dove” by Ville Meriläinen with one hoop dancer with fire.

John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press, unveiled the 33rd Volume of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future featuring the work of the 24 award-winning new authors and illustrators and two published finalists from this year’s contests. Edited by David Farland, with cover artwork by Larry Elmore, the book also features stories written by renowned writers Anne McCaffrey, Robert J. Sawyer, Larry Elmore, Todd McCaffrey and Bob Eggleton.  The new anthology is now available throughout the United States from Amazon.com, BN.com, BAM.com, in Barnes & Noble stores, Books A Million or at Galaxy Press.com

In his keynote address, Pat Henry said:  “This is quite a spectacular event, recognizing talented aspiring writers and artists of Science Fiction and Fantasy from all over the world….  Good Fantasy is magic.  It transports the reader to a new and different reality, and they come back changed forever.  We want to become absorbed in your fantasy.  You make us want to believe.  You have the talent. You have the tools.  Go make us proud.  Thank you Writers and Illustrators of the Future.  And thanks for everything you do to carry forward L. Ron Hubbard’s vision to promote and improve this great industry! ”

Awards for each of the Quarterly Finalists of the Writers and Illustrators Contests were presented by actors Marisol Nichols and Jim Meskimen, along with renowned judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

This year’s 12 Quarterly Awards Winners of the Writing Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies.  They included:  Walter Dinjos of Anambra State, Nigeria (via video); Sean Hazlett of Pleasant Hill, CA; Ziporah Hildebrandt from Shutesbury, MA; Stephen Lawson of Louisville, KY; C.L. Kagmi of Ann Arbor, MI; Jake Marley of Garden Grove, CA; Ville Meriläinen of Joensuu, Finland; Andrew Peery of Durham, NC; Andrew L. Roberts of San Lorenzo, CA; Anton Rose of Durham, United Kingdom; Doug C. Souza of Modesto, CA and Dustin Steinacker of Orem, UT.

In addition, this year’s book also includes the stories of two published finalists, Mary Elizabeth Atkins of St. Louis, MO and David VonAllmen of St. Louis, MO.  Incidentally, it wasn’t discovered until after the competition was over, but Mary Elizabeth Atkins and David VonAllmen, although each entered the writing contest as separate applicants, are also writing partners in real life.

This year’s 12 Quarterly Awards Winners of the Illustrating Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies.  They included:  Asher Ben Alpay of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines (via video); Hanna Al-Shaer of Grand Rapids, MI; Yader Fonseca of Woodside, NY; David Furnal of Beaverton, OR; Christopher Kiklowicz of Lakewood, CA; Chan ha Kim or Los Angeles, CA; Aituar Manas of Kazakhstan, Almaty; Michael Michera of Pabianice, Poland; Anthony Moravian of Brooklyn, NY; Jason Park of Pasadena, CA; Rachel Quinlan of St. Clair Shores, MI and Ryan Richmond of Carmel, IN.

The black tie optional/medieval fantasy themed event was attended by celebrities including:  Marisol Nichols, Sean Cameron Michael, Erika Christensen, Jesse Kove, Joy Villa, Sheena Chohan, Diane E. Watson, retired Member of Congress, Jim Meskimen, Victoria Summer and Lee-Anne Summers.

Event attendees also included 21 world-renowned writer and illustrator contest judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  The 13 Writer judges included:  Kevin J. Anderson, Dr. Doug Beason, David Farland, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Nancy Kress, Todd McCaffrey, Larry Niven, Jody Lynn Nye, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Timothy Thomas “Tim” Powers, Mike Resnick and Dr. Robert J. Sawyer.  The eight illustrator judges included: Echo Chernik, Lazarus Chernik, Circuelo Cabral, Dr. Laura Freas Beraha, Larry Elmore, Val Lakey Lindahn, Sergey Poyarkov and Rob Prior.

About The Contests:
Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, “Battlefield Earth,” written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest (www.writersofthefuture.com) in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break.  Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful.  The 380 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and 4,450 short stories.  The contests have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers written by 12 authors: Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland), Sean Williams, Jo Beverly, Nancy Farmer, Linda Smedman, Karen Joy Fowler, Patrick Rothfuss, Tim Myers, Eric Flint, Dean Wesley Smith, Tobias Buckle and Elizabeth Wein.

Writers of the Future Winners have garnered 117 major awards including:  National Endowment for the Arts Award, Newbery Honors – American Library Association Award, The National Book Award, Ditmar Awards, Aurealis Awards, South Australia Great Literature Awards, Peter McNamara Awards, RITA Awards, Nebula Awards, World Fantasy Awards, Pen/Faulkner Awards, Shirley Jackson Awards, Smithsonian Magazine, Storytelling World Award, Children’s Literature Choice Lists, Family Magazine, Philip K. Dick Memorial Awards, International Book Awards, West Hollywood Book Festival, Global E-book Awards, Next Generation Book Awards, Quill Award, Gemmell Awards, The Edgar Award, World Fantasy Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award, Bram Stoker Award and Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.

Seventeen Illustrators of the Future Contest Winners have won 144 awards, including:  Academy Award Winner (Shaun Tan for Best Animated Short Film for 2011, The Lost Thing), Emmy Award nomination (David Hartman for Roughneck:  Starship Trooper), National Society of Arts and Letters, Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Ditmar Awards and Hugo Awards.

Collectively, the winners of the contests have sold over 53 million books over the years.  The 310 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 4,500 illustrations, 356 comic books, graced 594 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 36 television shows and 46 major movies.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction.  Since its inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 33 anthology volumes and awarded upwards of $1 million in cash prizes and royalties.  For more information please visit www.writersofthefuture.com and www.galaxypress.com

 

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