BETTENDORF, IOWA (May 2, 2023) — Local QCA writer David Hankins is a winner in the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and was honored along with eleven other winning writers and twelve winning artists at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, California, April 28.  His story, "Death and the Taxman," is illustrated by Sarah Morrison of Malden, Massachusetts who is an Illustrators of the Future winner herself. The story and illustration, along with the other writers' and illustrators' stories and art are published in the international bestselling anthology, L Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 39 which is officially released on May 2.  

David Hankins writes from the thriving cornfields of Iowa where he lives with his wife, daughter, and two dragons disguised as cats. His writing journey began in the oral tradition of convincing his daughter to Go to Sleep with inventive stories. That usually backfired. After years of Just One More Story, David began transcribing his midnight ramblings in an attempt to keep his storylines straight. Children are ruthless in identifying mistakes in fairy tales. David writes lighthearted speculative fiction because that's what he loves to read and — this is the important bit there's not nearly enough humor in the world. David aims to change that, one story at a time.

David joined the US Army after college and, through some glitch in the bureaucracy, convinced Uncle Sam to fund his wanderlust for twenty years. He has lived in and traveled through much of Europe, central Asia, and the United States. Now that he’s retired from the Army, David devotes his time to his passions of writing, traveling with his family, and finding new ways to pay his mortgage.

“Death and the Taxman” was born as the writing community mourned the passing 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 tenaciously as we do? Inspired by the witty and sarcastic styles of Sir Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher — and by an IRS audit he hopes never to repeat — David wrote this story hoping to bring laughter in a time of grief. To any tax auditors reading this: You are lovely people. Please don’t audit David again. He hopes you enjoy “Death and the Taxman.”

The Contest, one of the most prestigious writing and illustrating competitions in the world, is currently in its fortieth year and is 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), to name a few.

The Illustrators of the Future Contest judges include, Bob Eggleton (eleven Chesley Awards and seven Hugo Awards), Larry Elmore (Dungeons and Dragons book covers), Echo Chernik (graphic designs for major corporations, including Celestial Seasonings tea packaging), Rob Prior (art for Spawn, Heavy Metal comics, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Ciruelo (Eragon Coloring Book).

Following the 1982 release of his internationally-acclaimed, best-selling science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, written in celebration of fifty years as a professional writer, L Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future ( in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writers of the Future Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was inaugurated five years later.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 382 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 6,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 624 books and albums with their art, and visually contributed to 68 TV shows and forty major movies.

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 sixty 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 inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 38 anthology volumes and awarded over $1,000,000 cumulatively in prize moneys and royalties.

For more information about the Contests, go to

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