It’s a contest with a purpose. While showcasing writing talents, Writers Unite to Fight Cancer’s second writing contest will raise funds for cancer research — and will culminate with a star-studded awards ceremony, featuring best-selling author and motivational speaker James Owen and recording artist Vanessa Joy.

Sponsored by WUFC, a charitable organization of authors who raise money for cancer research, this year’s contest has the theme, “The Drive to Thrive.”

“The theme emphasizes thriving versus merely surviving life’s challenges and obstacles,” said Mesa-resident Margaret L. Turley, WUFC founder and administrator of the nonprofit organization.

“Subject matter may be on any topic as long as it follows the theme of The Drive to Thrive,” Turley said.

Contest entries are now being accepted. Everyone over 18 is eligible to enter any number of submissions. Contest categories include fiction (short stories or partial novels, all genres, middle grade or adult) or nonfiction (memoir, essay or editorial). For each submission, the entry fee is $30, and entries must be received by August 15.

Winners and finalists will receive the opportunity to be published in The Drive to Thrive Anthology. They also will be recognized at a special awards ceremony on September 24 at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. Featured speaker, renowned author and illustrator, James A. Owen, is the author of the Chronicles of the ImaginariumGeographica series, the creator of the critically acclaimed StarChild graphic novel series, and the author of the Mythworld series of novels.

Owens Mediations trilogy (Drawing Out the Dragons, The Barbizon Diaries and The Grand Design) will be published in hardcover editions with the last of the three being released this fall. At the awards ceremony, Owens will share a motivational message about the theme of “The Drive to Thrive.”

Also appearing at the awards ceremony will be theatrical soprano, Joy. She will sing “Beyond Imagination” and “Lullaby” from her CD, “The Voice.” A multiple award-winning vocalist who has performed across the United States and around the world, Joy also has sung for the USO at the Wounded Warriors Center in Germany and for the US Ambassador in Cairo, Egypt.

Contributions made at the awards ceremony, along with the contest entry fees and profits from the sale of the anthology, will be donated to the collaborative cancer research program at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine with Arizona State Universityunder the direction of Robert Waters PhD.

This benefit contest is part of the ongoing mission of WUFC. Founded in June 2010, the organization is committed to raising community awareness about cancer, as well as raising money for cancer research. In addition, WUFC provides other opportunities for writers to share their works.

The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. It will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on September 24 at Changing Hands Bookstore located at 6425 S. McClintock Dr. in Tempe.

For information about Writers Unite to Fight Cancer, visit For contest details, visit the website and click on “Events,” or contact Margaret Turley at