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By Allison MacLachlan
October 6, 2011
1:14 PM

Filed under Awards, News

HarperCollins Canada sponsors new prize for science fiction and fantasy

To coincide with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre awards gala on Tuesday, organizers have announced a new children’s literature prize to honour excellence in the science fiction and fantasy genres. The $5,000 Monica Hughes Award, to be handed out annually beginning next October, is sponsored by HarperCollins Canada.

The idea for the award arose out of conversations among HarperCollins Canada staff, who noted that genre prizes for children’s literature exist in Canada, but not for science fiction and fantasy.

“We agreed that there was a need to recognize these authors and this genre, which has its unique demands on authors,” says Hadley Dyer, executive editor of children’s books at HarperCollins Canada.

The prize will consider science fiction and fantasy broadly, including subgenres like dystopian and paranormal fiction, steampunk, and cyberpunk, says Dyer. Because speculative fiction “is a genre that’s always evolving,” she adds, the flexible definition is intended to leave room for new subgenres that might crop up in the future.

The award’s namesake is the late Monica Hughes, a member of the Order of Canada who wrote more than 40 books of YA fiction, many of them science fiction and fantasy. “[Hughes] really was one of the first writers of note who was publishing in these genres for young readers in Canada,” says Dyer. “She’s very widely recognized as a bit of a trailblazer.”

The Monica Hughes Award is sponsored by HarperCollins Canada, but will be administered by the CCBC. Titles published by HarperCollins will be eligible.

The jury for the inaugural award will consist of University of Toronto science fiction professor Dr. Michael Johnstone, Toronto Star columnist and author Deirdre Baker, and Indigo Books & Music merchandiser for kids and teens Melanie Fishbane.

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