David Hankins of Bettendorf was recently named a winner in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. His prizes included a trip to Hollywood and a week-long master-class workshop. His winning story, “Death and the Taxman,” will be published in the international bestselling anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 39.

Hankins began his writing career with inventive Go to Sleep stories to convince his daughter to hit the hay. After years of Just One More Story, he began transcribing his midnight ramblings to keep his storylines straight, because children are ruthless in identifying mistakes in fairy tales. Hankins prefers to write lighthearted speculative fiction because that’s what he loves to read and there’s not nearly enough humor in the world. He plans to change that, one story at a time.

“Death and the Taxman” was born as the writing community mourned the death of Writers of the Future coordinating judge Dave Farland. Death is the ultimate rigged game, one that the Grim Reaper never loses. But what if he did? What if he became human? Would the Grim Reaper cling to life as stubbornly as we do? Inspired by the styles of Sir Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher–and by an IRS audit he hopes never to repeat– Hankins wrote the story hoping to bring laughter in a time of grief.

The contest is one of the most prestigious writing and illustrating competitions in the world and is currently in its 39th year. It’s judged by some of the premier names in speculative fiction. The Writers of the Future Contest judges include Tim Powers (author of On Stranger Tides), Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert (Dune prequel series), Robert J. Sawyer (Quantum Night), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn series, The Stormlight Archive), Larry Niven (Ringworld), Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death), David Farland (Runelords) and Katherine Kurtz (Deryni series).

Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future in 1983 to provide a way for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. The 452 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies. The Writers and Illustrators 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 38 anthology volumes and awarded over $1,000,000 cumulatively in prize money and royalties.
For more information about the contests, click here.