2023 Contest Winners

It's time to announce of Dream Foundry Contest winners! This year, we once again had entrants from every continent other than Antarctica. Every year we are extremely pleased to see so many creatives come out to participate. It's clear the current wave of emerging creatives are poised to push the field into new levels of excellence and it's a great privilege to be able to reward some of that effort.

Writing Contest Art Contest
1st Place - Albert Nkereuwem
2nd Place - Fatima Abdullahi
3rd Place - Jessica Andrewartha
1st Place, Monu Bose Prize for Art - ReYtzin
2nd Place - Ahmed Asi
3rd Place - Brave Burattino

In addition to their cash prizes, all of the winners will be offered special showcases at Flights of Foundry 2024, and their choice of the convention’s workshop and limited seating sessions. Congratulations to the winners! This was a very competitive year and we're proud to showcase these winners. Thanks also to everyone who participated. Our gratitude also to contest coordinators Julia Rios and Dante Luiz and this year's contest judges: Suzan Palumbo, John Wiswell, Solomon Enos and Sloane Hong.


A green, red, and white infographic with the Con or Bust and Glasgow WorldCon logos prominently displayed over a field of stars. In the center: Goldman Fund for Palestinians

Goldman Fund Applications for Palestinians Attending Glasgow WorldCon Are Open

Dream Foundry is thrilled to announce that applications for grants from the Goldman Fund for Palestinian creatives and fans seeking to attend the 2024 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow are now open! The preferred application window is 31 July - 5 November 2023, though applications outside this window may be considered for any remaining funds. 

This is the Goldman Fund’s inaugural year. Offered through Dream Foundry’s Con or Bust program, the fund has a total of £8,000 per year for five years, and will assist citizens of Palestine and self-identified members of the Palestinian diaspora with expenses incurred from travel to and attendance at the annual WorldCon. The fund was created by Farah Mendlesohn in memory of her mother, Carole Goldman. 

Con or Bust is a grant-making program that provides greater access for creators and fans of color to science fiction conventions, events, and professional development opportunities. Since its relaunch as a Dream Foundry program in 2023 it has provided direct support to fifteen individuals, and hosted multiple networking and support events. Dream Foundry is actively accepting donations and endowments to expand this program.

The find more information about Con or Bust, or apply for support from the Goldman Fund, visit www.dreamfoundry.org/dreamfoundry.org/con-or-bust/


A background of gold light bokeh and the words

Announcing the 2023 Contest Finalists

Here at the Dream Foundry, we’re always amazed by the level of talent both new and emerging. This year was no exception. We had an amazing turn out with submissions from all around the globe to both contests. 

Our finalists were chosen by Julia Rios and Dante Luiz for the writing and art contests respectively. The finalists’ entries have been sent to writing contest judges John Wiswell and Suzan Palumbo, and art contest judges Sloane Hong and Solomon Enos, who will pick our three winners.

Each of the winners will receive a cash prize, but all the finalists will get their choice of seats at Flights of Foundry 2024’s workshops and limited seating sessions. 

Writing Contest Art Contest
  • Fatima Abdullahi
  • Jessica Andrewatha
  • Zary Fekete
  • Ariel Finkle
  • Mallika Kamat
  • Toshiya Kamei
  • Felicia Martínez
  • Albert Nkereuwem
  • Alexia Tolas
  • Alan Mark Tong
  • Ahmed Asi
  • BraveBurattino
  • chocokkyo
  • Alieha Dryden
  • Galtenoble
  • ©Jin
  • MarMar
  • Mocarro
  • ReYtzin
  • Larissa Usuki

Congratulations to all our finalists! The winners will be announced soon so keep an eye on this space!


A dragicorn laying down and dreaming, an overstuffed wheeled suitcase with

Dream Foundry Announces Fund to Bring Palestinian Fans to WorldCon

Dream Foundry announces a new initiative under its Con or Bust program to assist Palestinian creators and fans of speculative fiction in attending the World Science Fiction Convention through 2028.

Con or Bust was conceived as a program to provide greater access for creators and fans of color to science fiction conventions, events, and professional development opportunities. Thanks to the generosity of Farah Mendlesohn from the estate of, and in memory of her mother, Carole Goldman, Dream Foundry has been granted £40,000 to assist self-identified citizens of Palestine and members of the Palestinian diaspora to pay travel and membership expenses to five Worldcons beginning in 2024. Awards from the Goldman Fund will be in the form of direct cash grants.

Applications to the Goldman Fund for the 2024 WorldCon will open from July through September of 2023. For more information about Con or Bust, visit www.dreamfoundry.org/dreamfoundry.org/con-or-bust/


Announcing the 2022 Dream Foundry Contest Winners

Happy December, everyone! It's time to announce of Dream Foundry Contest winners! Every year we are extremely pleased to see so many creatives come out to participate. It's clear the current wave of emerging creatives are poised to push the field into new levels of excellence and it's a great privilege to be able to reward some of that effort. Without further rambling, our winners!

Writing Contest Art Contest
1st Place - Audrey Obuobisa-Darko
2nd Place -  Takim WIlliams
3rd Place - Davida Kilgore
1st Place, Monu Bose Prize for Art - Eryk Souza
2nd Place - Daniela Ivanova
3rd Place - Elemei

 

In addition to their cash prizes, all of the winners will be offered special showcases at Flights of Foundry 2023, and their choice of the convention’s workshop and limited seating sessions. Congratulations to the winners! We've had a very competitive year and we're proud to showcase these winners. And a BIG thank you to everyone who participated. Another massive thanks to contest coordinators Julia Rios and Dante Luiz and contest judges L.D. Lewis, Sarah Gailey, Mateus Manhanini and Daniela Viçoso.


A black background with silver sparkles. The words

Announcing the 2022 Dream Foundry Contest Finalists

We at the Dream Foundry are always pleased to round out the second half of the year with our Emerging Writer and Artist Contests. This is always a deeply heartening part of the year, as we get to see the sheer quality of work that is out there in the speculative arts and especially those who are new and emerging. Finalists this year were chosen by Julia Rios and Dante Luiz for the writing and art contests respectively and passed along to judges writing contest judges L.D. Lewis and Sarah Gailey, and art contest judges Mateus Manhanini and Daniela Viçoso.

Contest winners will be announced in December, and all finalists have been given priority, pre-lottery seating to workshops at Flights of Foundry 2023.

 

Writing Contest Art Contest
• Ry Rosenhirsch
• Katlina Sommerberg
• Angela Acosta
• Nico Montoya
• Davida Kilgore
• Audrey Obuobisa-Darko
• Sarah Ang
• Laura Chilibeck
• Takim WIlliams
• Georgie Morvis
Eryk Souza
Serene Illustrations
Elemei
Albokhari Mohamed Tahir Bashir
Daniela Ivanova
Winter Ross
Jeff Stirling
• Larissa Usuki
Nino
• Clare Reid

 

A big congratulations to all our finalists!


Portrait of a white person with attitude in the best sense of the word. They are facing the camera, shoulder's at a slight angle, with a confident smirk. Their reddish brown hair is closely cropped at the sides and coiffed fetchingly at the top. They are rocking a black jacket over black shirt.

An Interview with the Dream Foundry's Writing Contest Judge Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey is a Hugo Award Winning and Bestselling author of speculative fiction, short stories, and essays. They have been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for multiple years running. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published by Tor Books in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, and first original comic book series with BOOM! Studios, Eat the Rich, are available now. Their shorter works and essays have been published in Mashable, The Boston Globe, Vice, Tor.com, and the Atlantic. Their work has been translated into seven different languages and published around the world. You can find links to their work at sarahgailey.com and on social media at @gaileyfrey.

 

Writers are frequently looking for the "key" to win or be published, but there's no singular piece of advice that can be universally applied. With that in mind, how do you find yourself navigating and evaluating submissions? What stands out to you?
 Author A. B. Guthrie Jr. once said that the secret to writing well is a constant undercurrent of the unexpected. Delight takes many forms and can come from many sources, but in the end, I find it to be the one unifying feature of the media I remember and value. For me, that delight often comes from seeing a brilliant craftsperson in their element, taking risks and delivering things I wouldn't have known to ask for. A story that delivers the unexpected will always delight me.
Professional development spaces for emerging writers are not necessarily easily accessible to those who need it most. How do you see open submission opportunities fitting into the professional development of new and upcoming writers?
In the publishing industry, as in many media and entertainment spaces, everyone's looking for a 'sure thing' -- a product that reproduces the successes of the past. This naturally has a flattening effect that does a disservice to everyone involved -- creators, consumers, and publishers alike -- but it's difficult to make the idea of 'risk' appealing to an industry that constantly reminds itself of how thin it's already stretched. Open submission opportunities sidestep questions of risk and certainty by reframing risk as opportunity. People love the notion of discovery, of being the first to recognize something great, and the open submission call promises the opportunity for discovery. It serves as a cushion for those who might otherwise close themselves off to new writing styles, new voices, entirely new stories. I think open submission calls can be incredibly stressful for new and upcoming writers who feel that each chance might be their last -- but for me, open submission calls have also been energizing, giving me the opportunity to grow comfortable with the pace and practices of the publishing world.
Do you have any advice on how emerging writers can get the most out of participating in the writing contest?
I usually hesitate to offer 'advice' because every experience is unique and so is every person. This question is an exception. I have advice and it's this: don't write anything just for this contest. Never write a piece that is designed to be strictly and solely for any one contest, submissions call, anthology, podcast, magazine -- never limit your stories that way. If you yoke your tender creative heart to a single outlet, you will find yourself creating stories to try to drop off at that outlet. When your story is rejected you will feel that it has failed you. When your story is accepted you will end up feeling that you've left it behind. Be inspired by outlets and submission calls, be galvanized by them, but do not write for them. Write for yourself. Connect yourself to your story first and foremost, then walk up to the contest with it to find out if there's a good fit between the two. Hold the tiny soft hand of your story and know that if the place you tried to go together doesn't work out, there's still a whole world for the two of you to wander.
What kind of experience do you believe transfers from the writing contest to publishing at large? What can emerging writers learn from this process?
Emerging writers can use this contest to learn how to write to deadline, how to write to spec, how to aim a story at a specific audience; they can use it to learn patience with the pace of the publishing world, patience with their own creative minds, patience with contracts; they can use it to learn gracious acceptance of victory and sturdy acceptance of rejection. No words are wasted words. All writing is learning.
It's been increasingly difficult for creatives to feel motivated given the state of the world. How have you been finding joy in your craft these past few years? How are you finding yourself navigating the state of publishing?
I don't seek joy in my craft. That's not to say no-one should seek joy in their craft, it's just not my thing. In my craft I try to find the edges of what I'm capable of and how I understand stories, and then I try to peel those edges back to find what else might be possible. Exhaustion deserves respect and accommodation and so does despair; I don't look to fix or escape either one through my work. That's where the motivation lives: in the understanding that when I turn to my work it is not for relief or respite but to whet my imagination, which is the finest tool I have.
As for the state of publishing, I am a jellyfish. The water takes me where it goes.

An Interview with the Dream Foundry's Writing Contest Coordinator Julia Rios

Julia Rios (they/them) is a queer, Latinx writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator whose fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in Latin American Literature Today, Lightspeed, and Goblin Fruit, among other places. Their editing work has won multiple awards including the Hugo Award. Julia is a co-host of This is Why We’re Like This, a podcast about the movies we watch in childhood that shape our lives, for better or for worse. They’ve narrated stories for Escape Pod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. They’re @omgjulia on Twitter.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of reading and evaluating submissions? How does it differ – if at all – from reading slush for a magazine?
Reading and evaluating submissions for this contest is a bit different from reading magazine submissions. When I read for a magazine, I am looking specifically for pieces that fit the tone of the publication. For example, I had an open reading period for my Worlds of Possibility project earlier in the year, and for that I was specifically looking for pieces that felt hopeful or uplifting in some way. For the contest, there's no theme or tone, so it's okay if a story is very grim, even if that would be an automatic no for Worlds of Possibility. I also might know fairly quickly if a piece feels like a good fit for a specific publication, and so I might stop reading once I am sure of that. With the contest entries, I always read all the way to the end to see what the story is like as a whole.
Professional development spaces for emerging writers are not necessarily easily accessible to those who need it most. How do you see open submission opportunities fitting into the professional development of new and upcoming writers?
 
I think one of the best ways to develop as a writer is by practice. The more experience you get sending your work out, the more practice you have with writing, following guidelines, and getting experience with weathering the inevitable barrage of rejections that almost every writer will receive over the course of a writing career. Sometimes you may receive some feedback in a response, and that may be helpful, but it's also important to remember that the majority of responses won't include personal feedback, and that's okay, too. All of it adds to the experience and the practice of writing and submitting work.
I think it's also great if you can find peers to do critique swaps, or even take classes where critique is part of the class, but submitting is valuable in a different way.
Do you have any advice on how emerging writers can get the most out of participating in the writing contest?
Don't self-reject! Understand that the vast majority of entries will not become finalists, but a few will, and you never know if yours might be one! Also, remember that participating in itself is a kind of victory. You've put your work out there! That's a win!
What kind of experience do you believe transfers from the writing contest to publishing at large? What can emerging writers learn from this process?
Participating in this contest is good practice for other kinds of submissions. Writers who enter will have written a story! That's arguably the most important part of developing as a writer. They also have gone through the process of reading guidelines and making sure their story submission fits those guidelines. That's really important for submissions in general. Finally, if you enter the contest, you can also submit your contest story to other venues because this contest does not include publication. Since you've already sent it to us, why not send it to others, too?
It's been increasingly difficult for creatives to feel motivated given the state of the world. How have you been finding joy in your craft these past few years? How are you finding yourself navigating the state of publishing?
This is a hard one! I personally have been dealing with things by letting myself rest a lot and also searching for things that bring me joy. I mentioned before that my Worlds of Possibility project is focused on hopeful or uplifting stories, and that's because I have personally felt like that's what I want and need to read right now. I've also tried to be very conscious of how much I allow myself to dwell on social media and the news cycle. It can be really easy to get sucked into those things and feel sad or angry and use too much energy on that rather than self care and my own work. If I start to feel overwhelmed, I try to take a step back and ask why. What have I been focusing on and what can I change? Sometimes a quick fix like taking a walk or a nap will help. Other times, I need to give myself more time and care. I think it's important to remember that creativity takes energy. Much like athletes need to take care of their bodies for competition, writers need to take care of their minds. And bodies, too! Don't forget to move around and eat and sleep and all that! As for how to navigate the state of publishing, one thing I have learned over time is that publishing is always in a state of crisis in one way or another. The only way to deal with that is to focus on the things I can control, which is to say, doing my own work.

A background of sparkly silver stars and the words

Announcing the 2021 Dream Foundry Contest Finalists

As 2021 comes to a close, so do our Emerging Writer and Artist contests! We have been astounded by the increasing turn out year after year and it's been humbling to watch. We were especially excited to see entrants from so many in the international community. This year, our contests had around 465 submissions from across 41 countries (as were declared by those submitting): Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, DR Congo, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, UK, USA, and Vietnam.

Finalists were chosen by Vajra Chandrasekera and Dante Luiz for the writing and art contests respectively and their names have been passed along to our contest judges Premee Mohamed, Charis Loke, and Juliana Pinho for final deliberations.

Without further ado, we are delighted to announce the finalists in the 2021 Dream Foundry contests:

Writing Contest Art Contest
• Shinjini Dey
• Sigrid Marianne Gayangos
• Brienne D. Hayes
• Amy Johnson
• Kellye McBride
• Kay Orchison
• Robin Sebolino
• Cat T.
• Jarred Thompson
• C. Bradley White

• Yue Feng
• Ellen He
• Mikoto
• Albokhari Mohamed
• Nair Nascimento
• Alex Pernau
• Vinnia Kemala Putri
• Julia Quandt
• Mols Slom
• Cathlyn Vania

Congratulations to all our finalists! The winners will be announced early December so stay tuned and keep an eye on this space!


Free Fall Challenge 2021

We're delighted to announce that this fall, our Free Fall Challenge will be returning! This event is for creatives of all kinds, with a community space to encourage attaining goals, fostering skills, and honing craft.

The challenge will begin November 1st. Prepare to stretch your creative muscles, set goals, leap into new feats, and cheer each other on!

The goal of this month-long event is to foster skills that will help you translate your current workflow into something sustainable as you learn your limits, expand your boundaries, build endurance, and learn how to work without burning yourself out. Build a plan! Set goals! Make a schedule! And cheer each other on! And if you don't succeed, that's okay too. In fact, failing is a valuable learning experience and we're here to help guide you through it.

Maybe you're writing a novel this November. Or perhaps a series of short stories? Awesome. This is for you. If you're thinking of making a new interactive fiction game? Good! This is for you, too. Want to stretch your drawing practice or try a new medium for a month? This challenge is all yours. Want to translate a poem a day, or write the scripts for your next SFF podcast? Jump right in! Whatever your project is, if you’re dedicating the month to doing something big and difficult for you, the Free-Fall November challenge is for you, and we're here to help you with it.

We're running the challenge through our Discord server, complete with a dedicated channel for co-working, tips, and encouragement.

How it works!

  • The Dream Foundry is providing space for co-working, accountability, and scheduling help. 
  • Come over to our Discord server and find the #free-fall-challenge channel. 
  • Let us know what your plans and goals are - and if you’re not sure how to set goals that are the right level of challenging, we’ll help you out! 
  • When you have your plan ready, you can sign-up here. If you want to join the official co-working sessions, you’ll need to sign up.  
  • You can also share your progress and join in on twitter with the hashtag #freefallchallenge.  
  • And if you stumble along the way? We’ll help you recover, with some cheerleading from the other folks working on their own challenges. 
  • The official launch of the Free Fall Challenge will take place in our community room November 1st. Details and invites will be sent to those who sign up using the form below. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Preparations for your jump can start now! Drop in, get hyped, and prepare to make November a challenge that gives you life!

Sign up here!