Back to Top


We are proud to announce our distinguished panel of judges for the 2017 Sunburst Awards.

Nancy Baker

Nancy Baker is the author of four novels – Cold HillsideThe Night InsideBlood and Chrysanthemums, and A Terrible Beauty – and Discovering Japan, a collection of short stories. She lives in Toronto and avoids writing by gardening, making jam, and drinking martinis.

Michel Basilieres

Michel Basilières' first novel, Black Bird, won the Amazon First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize. He's also written radio drama for the CBC, and reviews and articles for The Globe & MailThe Toronto Star and The National Post. He has been Maisonneuve Magazine's science fiction web columnist and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto. His latest novel, A Free Man, features a time-travelling robot named Lem.

Rebecca Bradley

Rebecca Bradley, a retired archaeologist and many other things, is the author of the Gil Trilogy (fantasy), Temutma (horror, coauthored with Stewart Sloan), The Lateral Truth, and many short stories for anthologies and her own collections. Her work has been presented on radio on the CBC in Canada, RTHK in Hong Kong, and in translation in Germany. Her most recent novel,Cadon, Hunter, was on the long list for the 2015 Sunburst Award. She currently lives on an acreage in Ootischenia, British Columbia and writes a blog for the Skeptic Ink Network.

Dominick Grace

Dominick Grace is an Associate Professor of English at Brescia University College in London, Ontario. His research interests are eclectic, ranging from medieval to modern literature, but he has a special interest in popular culture, especially Canadian popular culture. He is the author of The Science Fiction of Phyllis Gotlieb: A Critical Reading, published by McFarland, and co-editor with Eric Hoffman of a trilogy of collected interviews with major Canadian graphic novelists, from the University Press of Mississippi: Dave Sim: ConversationsChester Brown: Conversations and Seth: Conversations, as well as of a forthcoming volume co-edited with Hoffman and Jason Sacks, Jim Shooter: Conversations. He is also currently working on co-editing essay collections on Canadian graphic novels, the television show Twin Peaks and its tie-in movie, and on Canadian speculative fiction.

Sean Moreland

Sean Moreland’s essays, many of them focused on Gothic and horror fiction in its literary, cinematic, and sequential art guises, have appeared in numerous journals and essay collections. He is creator of the weird fiction focused website Postscripts to Darkness ( and his short fiction and award-winning poetry has most recently appeared in Lackington’sBlack TreacleAcidic Fiction and Dissections. He is on the editorial board for the Edgar Allan Poe Review, is associate reviews editor for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and teaches in the English department at the University of Ottawa.

Sunburst Award Society Announces the 2015 Annual Sunburst Award Winners of Its $1000 Literary Prize.

Toronto, ON, 05/10/15: The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult and Young Adult categories.

Adult Award

The winner of the 2015 Sunburst Award for Adult Fiction is The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King (HarperCollins Publishers, 2014).


The Sunburst Jury commented on King’s remarkable work:

A compelling tale of our ongoing ecological and economic crisis, Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle is also a comic myth which reminds us that, in First Nations traditions, there is still hope for the future. A mix of near-future narrative and timeless fable, the novel tells the story of a corporate malfeasance resulting in environmental disaster and protagonist Gabriel Quinn’s search for redemption for his role in this disaster as a scientist working for the corporation responsible. Moving adroitly between past and present, the legacies of colonial history and the promise of a world beyond corporate greed, The Back of the Turtle explores how our actions are entwined with the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and urges us to think about family and futurity in expansive ways.


Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer of Cherokee and Greek descent. His acclaimed, bestselling fiction includes Medicine River; Truth and Bright Water; One Good Story, That One; Green Grass, Running Water; and A Short History of Indians in Canada. A member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of an award from the National Aboriginal Foundation, Thomas King is a professor of English at the University of Guelph, Ontario.


Thomas King with Sunburst board members Dena Bain-Taylor and Rebecca Simkin

The other shortlisted works for the 2015 Adult Award were:

  • The Troop by Nick Cutter (Simon and Shuster, 2014)
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (HarperCollins Publishers, 2014)
  • My Real Children by Jo Walton (Tor Books, 2014)
  • Will Starling by Ian Weir (Goose Lane Editions, 2014)


    Thomas King received his medallion from Rebecca Simkin and Dena Bain-Taylor, Sunburst Board Members

    Young Adult Award

    The winner of the 2015 Sunburst Award for Young Adult Fiction is Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci (Roaring Brook Press, 2014).

    About Tin Star, the Sunburst Jury said:

    Tin Star is a gritty, compact science fiction novel that travels far beyond the usual orphan tropes of much young adult fiction. Tula is a teenaged girl overwrought with thoughts of revenge after her parents are murdered. Left behind on a shabby space station populated with all manner of alien life, Tula must learn to fend for herself if she is to survive. Castellucci handles notions of cultural difference with a deft hand, moving Tin Star beyond the sort of human-centeredness typical of traditional space operas. The spare prose paints a vivid picture of Tula's struggles between her desire for vengeance and her yearning for a life beyond grief, and her refusal to view human manners as a default form of "normal" is reminiscent of the best of science-fiction such as Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. A powerful, melancholy, and ultimately surprising work, Tin Star is a coming-of-age tale that will resonate with any reader with a pulse.

    Cecil Castellucci is the author of young adult books and graphic novels including Boy Proof; The Plain Janes; First Day on Earth; The Year of the Beasts; Stone in the Sky and the Eisner nominated Odd Duck. Castellucci is the Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two time MacDowell Fellow, and the founding YA Editor at the LA Review of Books. She lives in Los Angeles.

    The other shortlisted works for the 2015 Young Adult Award were:

    • The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (Amulet Books, 2014)
    • A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey (Bloomsbury Press, 2014)
    • Sophie, in Shadow by Eileen Kernaghan (Thistledown Press, 2014)
    • The Door in the Mountain by Caitlin Sweet (ChiTeen, 2014)


      The 2015 Sunburst Award jury was comprised of S.M. Beiko, Gerard Collins, Paula Johanson, Corey Redekop and Sherryl Vint.

      The Sunburst Award Society thanks Kobo Writing Life for providing their jurors with e-readers.

      Jurors for the 2016 award will be Timothy Anderson. Sylvie Berard, Virginia O'Dine, Dale Sproule and Myna Wallin.

      Due to an unexpectedly overwhelming number of submissions, the Sunburst Award Committee and the jurors made the decision to postpone the launch of the first short story prize until next year. The number of novels submitted for the awards reached an all-time high, and there was not enough time remaining to give the short stories the attention they deserved.

      Since 2001, The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic has celebrated the best in Canadian fantastic literature in both Adult and Young Adult publications.

      Winners of the Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $1,000, as well as the distinctive Sunburst Medallion which incorporates their logo.

      Past winners and nominees of the Sunburst Award include such authors as Kelley Armstrong, Margaret Atwood, Cory Doctorow, Charles de Lint, Nalo Hopkinson, Guy Gavriel Kay, Eden Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, and Margaret Sweatman.

      The Sunburst Award takes its name from Sunburst, the 1964 debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb (1926-2009). Gotleib was at the forefront of Canadian speculative fiction, being one of the first Canadian published authors to be recognized in the genre.

      For additional information about the Sunburst Award—including nominees, jurors, previous winners, eligibility, and the selection process—please visit The Sunburst Award Committee website at


      Rebecca Simkin, Chair The Sunburst Award Society 2 Farm Greenway Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3A 3M2
      or email us.

Editor, writer, performer and educator Timothy Anderson is a returning Sunburst juror based in Edmonton. In addition to his sf novel Resisting Adonis (Tesseracts), Timothy has written short fiction, poetry, operas and plays. Editing with The Books Collective from 1994 to 2005, he has experience in a wide range of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. 2014 saw the premiere of Just Keep Breathing, the film adaptation of his play about moral distress in pediatric intensive care teams. He has won many awards, including the Alberta Centennial Silver Medallion and the inaugural 2006/07 BookTelevision 3-Day Novel Contest reality TV show for his non-sf novel Juggernaut. He teaches book editing, substantive editing, and ethical practice in the Communication Studies department at MacEwan University.

Sylvie Bérard is a writer, teacher, scholar and literary critique, especially of science fiction. She teaches Québec literature and creative writing at Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario). Her research fields include science fiction, gender studies, and theories of enunciation. Among her recent scholarly works in science fiction is her contribution to the group « Les scénarios d’organisation sociopolitique et économique des sociétés post-écologiques : analyse des propositions issues de la science fiction ». She is the author, in collaboration with Magalie Uhl, of the booklet La science-fiction : de la perspective à la prospective publié (Cahiers de la CRSDD, 2012). She also published many long and short stories, and the science fiction novels Terre des Autres (Alire, 2004), for which she was awarded the Prix Jacques-Brossard 2005 and the Prix des lecteurs de Radio-Canada 2006, and La Saga d’Illyge (Alire 2011). This is not her first experience on a jury as she has sit on the Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois twice.

Virginia O’Dine lives in Prince George, BC, where she pursues her love of theatre, writing, and not getting stuck in traffic. She was Publisher & Editor for Bundoran Press for six years before passing on the reins to Hayden Trenholm. Her short stories have appeared in Tesseracts 16 and Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine. Virginia’s latest passion is stand-up comedy and has not yet had rotten tomatoes or cutlery thrown at her, so will keep making people laugh until someone gets a fork in the eye.

Dale Sproule is a writer, editor and reviewer His fiction has appeared in Northern Frights, Tesseracts, Pulphouse, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and about 40 others. Seventeen of his stories were included in his 2014 collection, Psychedelia Gothique. In the 90s, he co-published and edited (with Sally McBride) a magazine called TransVersions – Literature of the Fantastic.

He also sculpts in stone. Both his stories and sculptures are obsessed with myth and archetype. Dale currently lives in Toronto where he is looking for opportunities to rebuild old publishing paradigms for the new media environment.

Myna Wallin is an author and editor living in Toronto. She has her master's degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto. Her first collection of poetry, A Thousand Profane Pieces [2006] and her first novel, Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar [2010] were both published by Tightrope books. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Contemporary Verse 2, Existere, Descant, Literary Review of Canada, Matrix, Rampike, 50+ Poems about Gordon Lightfoot, and Where the Nights are Twice as Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets. Her poetry was part of an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibit in 2014 entitled, "Why (Not) Paintings of Poets?" She edited the individual collections The Animal Bridegroom by Sandra Kasturi, Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse by Phoebe Tsang and Muse by Dawn Kresan. Along with Halli Villegas she edited an anthology of Speculative fiction, In the Dark: Stories from the Supernatural (Tightrope Books, 2007). She’s currently finishing her second collection of poetry with a working title of Death, Wildlife and Taxes.

Sam Beiko, one one the 2015 jurors

The Sunburst Award Society has always been proud of our amazing judges and this year is no exception. Please join us in welcoming our five judges for the...

Please join us in welcoming our jurors for the 2012 Sunburst Awards.




Since 1997, Julie E. Czerneda has turned her love and...