Aurora Awards

Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association

Award Category Definitions

Award Category Disclaimer:  The Aurora Awards are only for works done in Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror genres in English, apart from Artist and Fan Organizational.  All items in these categories must have been originally published, performed, or undertaken in the prior calendar year.  For a work to be eligible for an Aurora Award, at least one or more of its creators must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.  Only those creators would be allowed to receive an award if their work were to win.  A work or person cannot be nominated for the same work in more than one category. Works are only eligible in the year they were first released, done, or become commercially available.

Individuals may be nominated for the professional awards for activities relevant to the award for unpaid work once they have been deemed a professional in the applicable category.  For a full definition of what qualifies as a professional, please refer to our Professional Awards definition lower down.

Professional Categories in English

Best Novel:  This category covers works with over 40,000 words.  A work that is less than 40,000 words but is published as a stand-alone book can be allowed to compete in this category if the author wishes it.

Best YA Novel:  This category covers works with over 30,000 words written for Young Adults or younger.  A work that is less than 30,000 words but was published as a stand-alone book can be allowed in this category if the author wishes it.  An author may request that their work be judged in another category instead by contacting the awards administrator.

Best Novelette/Novella: This category covers works with a word count of between 40,000 and 7,500.  This category only covers works that are defined as either novelettes or novellas.

Best Short Story: This category covers works with fewer than 7,500 words.  This category covers short form fiction such as short stories and flash fiction.

Best Poem/Song:  This category covers poems and songs.  A song may include lyrics and music

Best Graphic Novel/Comic:  This category covers works that combines both words and art to tell a story.  This category includes graphical novels, stories, or comics.  Works can be published as a stand-alone work, or within an anthology or collection, either in print or on the internet.  Nominations can be based on the written word, illustration, or colour work.

Best Visual Presentation:  This category covers movies, television productions, stage plays or similar works.  This award recognizes excellence in visual presentation.  Works will be judged on the acting, writing, direction, cinematography, and production quality.  Nominees must be either the show’s producer, director, or showrunner.

Best Artist:  This category covers works done by an artist, either for a specific piece or pieces of art, or for a body of work done during the prior calendar year.  An artist can only be on the ballot once.  This category is open to both English and French artists.

Best Related Work:  This category covers works of criticism, book reviews, CDs, critical editions, screen plays, anthologies, or a single-author collection.  This category covers all professional works that are not covered in the other professional categories.

Fan/Volunteer Categories

Note:  Professionals may be nominated for fan awards if their activity relevant to the award is unpaid, unrelated to their paid work whether in the genre or not, and fannish in nature.

Best Fan Writing and Publication:  This category covers fanzines, fan newsletters, articles, blogs, review sites, and publications, either in print or by electronic means, which contain a significant percentage of material relating to the Aurora Award genres.
Work can include articles relating to topics such as books, movies, comics, gaming, filk/music or conventions.  Works cannot promote commercial products or be dedicated to a professional group or person.

Best Fan Organizational:  This category is for organized activities such as non-profit/non-professional events related to conventions, clubs, or readings.  This includes literary, gaming, comic, and media activities.  This category is open to both English and French language organizers.

Best Fan Related Work:  This category encompasses presentations, lectures, courses, APAS, podcasts, unpaid artwork, performances, and fan music of all types including albums, song writing, or video.  This category covers all amateur works that are not covered in the other fan categories.


Professional Aurora awards definition

The Aurora awards are split into two areas: professional and amateur.  Currently, the five professional awards in both English and French are Novel, Short Fiction, Graphic Novel, Poetry/Song and Other.

Our definition of a professional is one that earns all or part of their living from an endeavour.  This may be a flat rate or be based on commission.  Getting paid with copies of your work or for sub-professional compensation is not a Professional standard.

When referring to Novels an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is required.  This also includes Anthologies, Single Author Collections and the stories within them.  It should not matter if a work is published by a major press house or a “vanity” press.  We can also define a professional as someone who has a paying contract with a publisher for that work.

Short Fiction, poetry or songs would not be defined as “professional” if the author is not paid based on its publication or performance.  Works that are just posted on a website or printed in a magazine that are given away for free are classified as amateur and would only be eligible for Fan awards.  The exception is if the author is paid by the website host.  It is up to an author to inform the awards committee in these situations.

Contests, such as local short story contests, where payment is based on prizes are not classified as professional.  A work would only be classified as professional if the contest resulted in it being publication in a book or magazine and the author receives an actual paying contract or royalties.


Updated: 2020-01-04