Maleficium by Martine Desjardins scoops the 2013 Sunburst Award.

The Sunburst Award winner for their 2013 adult award is Maleficium by Martine Desjardins; translated by Fred A. Reed and David Homel (Talonbooks, 9780889226807) and the winner of its 2013 young adult award is Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Doubleday Canada, ISBN – 9780385668392).

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastic literature published during the previous calendar year. The winners receive a cash prize of $1,000 as well as a medallion which incorporates the Sunburst logo. The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

Maleficium by Martine Desjardins scoops the 2013 Sunburst Award.
Maleficium by Martine Desjardins scoops the 2013 Sunburst Award.

About Maleficium, the Sunburst jury said: Rumour and speculation have it that there is hidden, somewhere in the archives of the Archdiocese of Montreal, a book so dangerous that the Church denies its existence. A copy has been found amongst papers of the author’s family, however, and its interlocking stories—originally told under the seal of confession—are here presented. Gorgeous and multilayered, Maleficium is a complex, devious, and vivid novel, in which all the senses, and most of the deadly sins, are invoked to exquisite and diabolical effect. Situated where Maria Monk meets the Arabian Nights, it weaves together elements at a thousand knots per square inch, its darkness of frame and intricacy of structure combining to subvert the pattern by the final chapter.

About Seraphina, the Sunburst Jury said: In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons have co-existed in an uneasy peace for four decades, but tensions still run high. The dragons are able to present themselves in human shape, which gives them some safety, but cannot protect them from all elements of a society which forever see them as the other. Into this world comes Seraphina, a young and gifted musician who joins the royal court as the anniversary of the peace treaty nears, and a member of the royal family is murdered, apparently by dragons. Seraphina finds herself drawn into the investigation, which puts her in danger from both sides, for reasons she dare not reveal. This is a grand and enchanting tale, as rich and intricate as a medieval tapestry, told beautifully. Hartman‘s wildly imaginative, well-drawn, and intricate world of dragons and men is definitely a world that bears watching, and Seraphina is a fine, fitting heroine, making her independent way while struggling with a legacy which can be both a blessing and a curse.

The jurors for the 2013 award are: Rebecca Bradley, Tony Burgess, Shari Lapeña, Barbara Roden and Leon Rooke.

The other shortlisted works for the 2013 adult award were:

Finton Moon by Gerard Collins (Killick Press)

Over the Darkened Landscape by Derryl Murphy (Fairwood Press)

The Blondes by Emily Schultz (Doubleday Canada)

Westlake Soul by Rio Youers (ChiZine Publications)

The other shortlisted works for the 2013 young adult award were:

Bright’s Light by Susan Juby (HarperCollins)

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen)

The Green Man by Michael Bedard (Tundra Books)

Rebel Heart by Moira Young (Doubleday Canada).


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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