My neighbor recently told me that her teenage children and their friends are worried about the state of the world — that sometimes they speak dismally about the future. Turn on any news channel or scroll through any social media platform, and it’s easy to see how even our youth are filled with moments of despair and hopelessness.
Still, kids are resilient and creative. And every time The Tomorrow Prize — an annual science-fiction writing competition for Los Angeles County high school students — rolls around, I feel a burst of excitement and hope.
L.A. Parent is a proud co-sponsor of the writing contest. This year marks the 8th annual Omega Sci-Fi Awards, which includes The Tomorrow Prize and The Green Feather Award. It is free to submit, and the submission portal is open until 11:59 p.m. January 9.
The Tomorrow Prize is open to all students attending high school in Los Angeles County, and it is free to submit. Science fiction is a uniquely inspiring medium that has enabled many of our greatest thinkers and scientists to imagine the heights — and limits — of human achievement. Teen writers are encouraged to submit stories that explore and connect themes such as social justice, feminism, identity, inequity, environmental sustainability, ethics and technology.
The Nature Nexus Institute (NNI) will co-present The Green Feather Award. This special award recognizes an outstanding science fiction short story by a teen author [or team of authors] that centers on overcoming the most critical challenges of our age, including climate change and the biodiversity crisis. This award is specifically focused on solutions and reimagining new ways of living.
“These awards create the outlet students need to think creatively, freely, and showcase their innovative ideasto all of Los Angeles,” says Omega Sci-Fi Awards Director Rosalind Helfand.
The Omega Sci-Fi Awards are a program of the arts and education nonprofit Light Bringer Project and founded by Sci-Fest LA. Sponsors include The Roddenberry Foundation, L.A. Parent, and Nature Nexus Institute.
Up to five finalists for The Tomorrow Prize will be chosen. The first-place winner will receive $250 and be published here in the pages of L.A. Parent magazine — print and online. The second-place winner will receive $150 and the third-place winner will receive $100. The Green Feather Award winner will receive $250 and online publication. The finalists’ stories will be read by celebrity guests at a ceremony in May.
Need some help with your writing? The organization has been offering free creative-writing workshops for students this year. For more information and to enter the contest, visit lightbringerproject.org/science-fiction-competitions.
Read last year’s The Tomorrow Prize first-place winner’s story here.