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2009 Winners

Toronto, September 28, 2009: The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of its 2009 adult award is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (Random House Canada, ISBN 0307356779) and the winner of its 2009 young adult award is Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor, ISBN 0765319853). (Pictured right is Cory Doctorow with two of the Sunburst Award administrators, Chris Szego [left] and Rebecca Simkin, after presentation of his award in Toronto in November 2009. Photo: Peter Halasz. Pictured left is Andrew Davidson with his award in December 2009.)

The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is a prized and juried award presented annually. It is based on excellence of writing and awarded to a Canadian writer who has published a speculative fiction novel or book-length collection any time during the previous calendar year. Named after the novel by Phyllis Gotlieb (1926–2009), one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction, the award consists of a cash prize of $1,000 and a hand-crafted medallion which incorporates a "Sunburst" logo, designed by Marcel Gagné.

The Sunburst jury said: "An unquenchable thirst for story and a phenomenal command of his craft make Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle a reader's dream. This ferociously ambitious, incendiary (at times literally) story of one man's phoenix-like transformation at the hands of a woman, possibly mad, who claims to have known him for 700 years, is prepared to fall on its own highly charged imaginative sword at any time, but never does. Davidson manages to evoke squirm-inducing horror and abiding love with the same unblinking powers of observation and self-consciousness. As the relationship between narrator and Marianne deepens and her tale of their shared history unfolds, past and present converge in ways tragic and redemptive, and immensely satisfying."

About Little Brother, the Sunburst jury said: "Many novels take a chapter or two to introduce the setting and protagonists and get the plot on the road. Not so Little Brother—it sings and zings from the first page, perhaps even the first line. Readers will immediately be swept up in the story of 17-year-old Marcus and his buddies, who, after a terrorist attack on not-so-far-future San Francisco, get caught in a government street-sweep simply because, well, they were there. So they must be guilty, right? After Marcus is finally let go, he decides that something needs to be done about this horrifying erosion of liberties and the scary world made scarier by the very people who are supposed to protect us. Besides, some of his friends are still, ominously, missing. Using his technogeek expertise, the Internet and every contact he has, Marcus takes on the school system, the government, Homeland Security, and anyone else standing in the way of freedoms both small and large. In anyone else's hands this material might so easily have come off as preachy or even trite, but Doctorow's superb handling of his protagonists and his plot turn the story into a nail-biting, heartbreaking rollercoaster of a novel that will leave the reader anguished and sweating over the fate of its characters. Thankfully, the novel wasn't doled out in installments, like Dickens, or we would all have been waiting on the virtual pier, begging to know what became, not of Little Nell, but of Marcus and his friends. A gem of a book—topical, well written, and not to be missed."

This is Cory Doctorow's second Sunburst Award; he won the 2004 Award for A Place So Foreign and Eight More.

The jurors for the 2009 award were Barbara Berson, John Dupuis, Ed Greenwood, Sandra Kasturi and Simon Rose. They selected five adult and five young adult shortlisted works as representing the finest of Canadian fantastic literature published during the 2008 calendar year.

The other shortlisted works for the 2009 adult award were:

  • Night Child by Jes Battis;
  • The Alchemist's Code by Dave Duncan;
  • Things Go Flying by Shari Lapeña; and
  • Half a Crown by Jo Walton.

The other shortlisted works for the 2009 Young Adult award were:

  • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong;
  • Dingo by Charles de Lint;
  • Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural by Eileen Kernaghan; and
  • Night Runner by Max Turner.

Andrew Davidson lives in Winnipeg. Cory Doctorow lives in London, England.

The 2010 Award jurors will be Don Bassingthwaite, Gemma Files, Susie Moloney, Ursula Pflug and Ed Willett.