I recently spent a week in Los Angeles at the Writers of the Future workshop, blogging daily for them and generally having much fun. Part way through it, Galaxy Press asked if I would do individual capsules on each writer. I loved the idea, so I said “sure!” Those went over well enough that they have now asked me to do a series of profiles on past winners. Of course, I said “sure!” again. I’ve got a list of folks, and I’m working my way through them.
It’s been great fun.
It’s also been different from writing about the current winners.
Writing about these past winners has this sense of looking through a time machine, of course. It feels nostalgic in a lot of ways, thinking back to when these names were truly just starting out. Fresh slates, so to speak. Some of them I know personally, and for those the feeling is doubled. Some I “grew up” with. Most are more successful than me, I would say (in a non-jealous kind of way), or at least differently successful. There are New York Times bestsellers here, Hugo winners, Nebula winners, and winners of many other awards.
Unlike the current winners, there is no fresh sense of wonder surrounding these people. Instead, it’s been replaced with this very calm sense of pace, a feeling of competence, a sense, almost, of watching a rock climber scaling a mountain. Seeing their records is like looking back down the mountain, looking at where they are is to see them calmly reach into a resin bag to prepare themselves for the next handhold. It all feels very meta, all tied up in dreams and hard work and random luck and raw persistence. The mere fact of these people’s existence is a small piece of performance art.
It’s fun to feel like I’m somehow a little part of it.
Here are the profiles I wrote for the new winners: (which I’ll try to update when the last two get released)
Andrew L. Roberts
Molly Elizabeth Atkins