By Rebecca Simkin

As great as it is that so many books are published every year, it can be difficult to choose what to read. We hope that one of the unintended side-benefits of the Sunburst Awards is that it makes these decisions easier—especially if you like your reading to be fantastic and written by Canadians.

The Sunburst Awards showcase literature of the fantastic written by Canadians. Of course, as typical Canadians, we use the broadest definitions of Canadian and literature of the fantastic: If you are born in Canada—no matter where you currently live—then you are Canadian. Congratulations! It’s a wonderful thing to be!  Literatures of the fantastic include fabulism, fantasy, magic realism, science fiction, speculative fiction, and supernatural horror.

We list as many of these works as we can identify on our website every year. Also featured are our jury’s shortlists and winners in each category: Adult and Young Adult, as well as bios of our jurors with links to their own websites. We also post bios of our jurors with links to their own websites. These lists, shortlists and bios serve as tremendous resources for readers, and, in fact, for anyone interested in which Canadian works inhabit the realms of the fantastic and which Canadians created them.

Established in 1999, the awards are named after Phyllis Gotlieb’s (1926 -2009) first novel. A onetime nominee for the Governor General Award in poetry she is also one of the first celebrated writers of contemporary Canadian science fiction. Each fall, along with a distinctive Sunburst medallion, we award a cash prize of $1,000 to the winners in each of the Adult and Young Adult categories, and $500 for the short story category.

We take great pains to ensure that our jurors come from a wide variety of literary backgrounds—their collective breadth and depth of experience informs their choices for the best works in any given year. The jury considers books and stories from “legacy” publishers, from small press publishers, as well as self-published works equally. So, if you’re Canadian and if you’ve written and published a work of the fantastic in 2014, then chances are that it is eligible for the 2015 Sunburst Awards. A complete description of our eligibility criteria can be found on our submissions page. An administrative fee of $20 per title is required.

Recognizing excellence in the short story form has been a goal for some time. This year, along with Chizine Publications, we are finally able to implement a short story award. Submissions for this award are handled a little bit differently. Since Chizine’s annual Imaginarium anthology publishes stories of the exact same type as are eligible for the Sunburst we have partnered with them. They will forward the stories submitted to them so that our jury can judge them. So, if you had a story published during 2014, check out the eligibility criteria and submission procedures over at the Chizine website. Please do not send short stories directly to the Sunburst Awards.

This year, for the very first time, we are accepting books in e-pub format as well as in print format. The e-pub submission link can be found here.  If you wish to submit, please note that we must receive your submission before the January 31, 2015 deadline. It is with Kobo Writing Life’s very generous support that we are able to supply the jury with new Kobo Arc tablets for their deliberations. We know our jurors are going to love those beautiful tablets and appreciate reading submissions on them.

sunburst_logoThe Sunburst Award Society is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization administered by volunteers and supported by members who pay an annual fee, and are entitled to vote for our members’ choice awards: The Copper Cylinder Awards. We welcome you to have a look at this site, join as a member, and check out what works our members have previously chosen as the best of the year. Please don’t be shy, if you like what we do, and would like to help us administer the awards and implement new initiatives, then please contact us at secretary@sunburstaward.org.