April 24, 2014
By Jennifer Bihm
LAWT Contributing Writer
Jamaican born artist Michael Talbot was among the winners at the 30th annual Future Writers and Illustrator Awards on Sunday April 13 in Los Angeles. Associate Administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters Leland D. Melvin, keynoted the event, which featured thirteen science fiction short story and illustration entries, picked from thousands around the world. Talbot’s entry was for the story “Shifter,” written by Future Writer winner, Paul Eckheart.
“[The win] was very shocking,” recalled Talbot.
“I had entered and basically forgot about it until I got the call that I was finalist. I wasn’t expecting it.”
He’s been drawing, he said, for as long as he can remember, choosing to do so while other kids were playing outside. He was attempting to apply for a scholarship but ended up in the Future Illustrators program, created by author L. Ron Hubbard. The 20 year old is currently studying his craft at the Lesley University of Art and Design and says that he feels winning the prestigious award will take him to the next level.
“I’m going to finish college and after that I’m going straight for whatever I want to do [in graphic design and illustration].
Meanwhile, Melvin former NFL recruit and NASA astronaut said he chose to be a part of the event because writers of science fiction are significant in helping to spark ideas for real life advancements on earth and in space.
“Science fiction,” he said, “often becomes science fact.”
“What you do with your writing and illustrations,” he told the finalists during his keynote speech, “you impact not only our world, you impact our world.”
The Future Writers/ Illustrator awards are based solely on the creators’ work, there is no entry fee according to program officials. Winners are published in the latest volume of the Writers of the Future anthology. Prizes also include thousands in cash and royalties, mentorship from experts in their field and TV and radio interviews, helping them to advance their careers.
“To be honest, I don’t think I’m anything extraordinary or beyond the typical artist or lover,” said Talbot.
“But, I do believe I’m able to make an impact on people through my art and that’s precisely what I strive to do.”