Those of us in the Writers of the Future community -- and the science-fiction community as a whole -- woke to shocking, sad news this morning: writer, former winner and presiding judge K.D. Wentworth passed away on April 18. She was 61.
I never met Kathy, but this is upsetting news for me nonetheless. The first time I entered Writers of the Future, she awarded me an honorable mention and sent back the first page of my story with a handwritten note of encouragement. That little note meant the world to me. Amid reading hundreds of entries, she took the time to tell me I was on the right track. I didn't plan to enter the next quarter, but after receiving that tiny bit of encouragement, I sent off another story, and another, and another. Two years and many entries later, I received a full critique from her, and her insight and advice were spot-on.
In an industry in which impersonal rejection is the norm, K.D. Wentworth gave encouragement and hope to hundreds (thousands?) of new writers to keep trying. To not give up. I will appreciate that always.