Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy

Please be advised that the CCBC is not accepting submissions to the Monica Hughes Award for 2020, as we are currently looking for a new sponsor for this award.


The Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, established in 2011, honours excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy writing for children and adolescents. The prize is awarded annually with a cash prize of $5,000. To be eligible, the book must be an original work in English, aimed at readers ages eight to 18 and written by a Canadian or a Permanent Resident of Canada. The award is sponsored by HarperCollins Canada in memory of the late Monica Hughes.

About Monica Hughes

Monica Hughes was the author of over forty books, many of them works of Science Fiction and Fantasy for young readers. She received numerous literary awards, including, in 1982 and 1983, the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (then called the Canada Council Children’s Literature Award). In 2002, Monica was made a member of the Order of Canada. She passed away in March 2003.

“There is a gentleness to her books that is rare… The hairsbreadth escapes, the exotic flora and fauna,… the villains and the heroes all are enclosed in one overriding concern, subtle but ever present: the value of kindness. This theme seems rather a nonrobust one… But Monica Hughes manages to clothe the homey quality in flesh and blood … to give it strength and resilience.”
– Sarah Ellis, The Horn Book magazine

Criteria and Submission Information

Eligibility Requirements:
  • Books must be published during the previous calendar year.
  • Both the author and illustrator (if applicable) must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada (who have lived in Canada for at least two years).
  • Books may be published in Canada or abroad.
  • Books must be first foreign or first Canadian editions. New editions or re-issues of previously published titles are noteligible for submission.
  • Books must be in English.
  • Translations are eligible, provided the translator is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada (who has lived in Canada for at least two years).
  • The book should be aimed at young readers aged eight to 18 years old.
  • Graphic novels are eligible.
  • Picture books are not eligible.
  • Short story collections by more than one author are not eligible.
  • Stories must be original; while stories inspired by classic works such as fairy tales are permissible, retellings of original stories are not.
  • Books written as part of a series or published in serial form will be judged as separate entries and must function as a ‘stand-alone’ story.
  • The award is only for books in the printed format, as distinct from digital (i.e., eBooks) and audio visual formats.
  • Books in manuscript form are not eligible.
  • All books must have an ISBN and be distributed in Canada.
  • Self-published books are eligible for submission provided they have a valid ISBN.

The Monica Hughes Award honours exceptional writing in the Speculative Fiction genre, which the Canadian Children’s Book Centre describes in two categories: Science Fiction and Fantasy, as defined below:

  • Science Fiction literature includes stories of time travel, alternate or re-imagined histories, dystopias and utopias, alien contact and/or invasion, steampunk, and space operas.
  • Fantasy literature includes domestic, heroic, and urban fantasies, and can include stories of the paranormal, domestic magic, faeries, and talking animals or animate toys.
  • The book must be of high literary quality and the story must be believable according to the rules/conventions/criteria of the story’s world/setting; the plot must be comprehensive and consistent.
  • The story must have well-developed and complex characters whose actions are consistent with their personalities.
  • The story should cover new and interesting topics, or familiar topics covered in new ways, demonstrating a rich imagination.
Submission Information:

Please be advised that the CCBC is not accepting submissions to the Monica Hughes Award for 2020, as we are currently looking for a new sponsor for this award.

Award Recipients

For the full list of finalists and winners, please click here.

Year Recipient
2016 Erin Bow. The Scorpions Rules. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015.
2015 Jonathan Auxier. The Night Gardener. Toronto: Puffin Canada, 2014.
2014 Erin Bow. Sorrow’s Knot. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Inc., 2013.
2013 Rachel Hartman. Seraphina. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2012.
2012 PJ Sarah Collins. What Happened to Serenity? Markham, ON: Red Deer Press, 2011.