The Aurora Awards

Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What are the awards?
The Aurora Awards are kind of like the Peoples Choice awards for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, except just for Canadians. There are twelve categories, some of them for literary works, and some of them for amateur or what we call Fan works. All Canadians may nominate or vote for the awards. Each year’s awards are for original works or activites done by Canadians in the previous calendar year.

Who runs the awards?

The Aurora Awards are run by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA). CSFFA is a federally registered non-profit society whose board of directors come from across Canada. The society and awards have been around since 1980.

Can I nominate or vote?

If you are a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, then the answer is yes though you must purchase an annual membership to CSFFA for $10. The society has online forms that make joining, paying, nominating and voting very easy.

What does my CSFFA membership get me?

Being a member of CSFFA allows you to:

  • nominate your favourite works in any or all of the categories,
  • download e-versions of almost all of the finalist works for free with our voter package,
  • vote for the finalist for the awards,
  • nominate great Canadians who you feel should be considered for the CSFFA Hall of Fame.
Where are the awards given out?

Each year CSFFA members select a city to host the awards. We refer to this as Canvention. Many nominated authors, editors, publishers and fans will be in attendance, and usually there is a banquet followed by the Aurora Award ceremony where we hand out trophies to the year’s winners.

What are the award categories?

All of the award categories are for original publications or works that are done by Canadians in the previous calendar year. There are two types of categories; professional and amateur (Fan). Once you are defined as a professional all similar work even if you are not paid for it is still deemed as a professional work. This means that if you have been paid for your writing or editing then any Fan publications would be deemed a professional work. Full details about each of the categories can be found here ( ) (coming soon!)

Professional Categories:

  • Best Novel
  • Best Young Adult Novel
  • Best Short Fiction
  • Best Poem/Song
  • Best Graphic Novel
  • Best Visual Presentation
  • Best Related Work*
  • Best Artist.

Fan Categories:

  • Best Fan Publication
  • Best Fan Music
  • Best Fan Organizational and
  • Best Fan Related Work*

*The Related Work categories cover any work that is not covered by another category.

The Best Visual Presentation is brand new this year and it covers works like TV shows and movies. Nominations are for the show and its show runner rather than a specific episode. This means that the production company and the show runner must be Canadian.

How can I find out when I can nominate or vote?

On our website at, we list when eligibility, nominations and voting opens and closes.

How do you define “Professional”?

The Aurora awards are split into two areas: professional and amateur. 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.

How do I know what to nominate?

We have an online eligibility list on our website that has been put together by our board and the members of the society. While it may not contain 100% of everything that can be nominated it does cover a lot of what you can nominate. If you are a member of CSFFA we encourage you to help us fill out any items that may have been missed.

We have always told our members to nominate what you know not what someone tells you to nominate. We encourage our members to let others know about what they’ve read or done that was great. Your nomination and your vote should be based on what you liked and have read or seen.

What gets onto the final ballot?

Once nominations close the awards committee reviews what our members have nominated. The five items with the most nominations are taken from this list to be on the final ballot. To be eligible to be on the ballot an item must receive at least five nominations. For a category to be on the ballot it must receive at least three eligible items. This is why it is very important for as many people to submit nominations.

How do I know what to vote for?

You may have already read some or all of the nominated items, but as a CSFFA member you will have access to our voter package. The package consists of e-versions of all published works that are on the final ballot. Download and read them on your computer or e-readers. When you have gone through some or all of them you should have a good idea of what you liked or didn’t like. Then you are ready to vote.

How do I vote?

We have a simple online form that you can go through and rank your choices. We use the preferential ballot system. This is where you get to rank from 1 to 5 where 1 is your favorite and 5 your least. Only rank the ones you are familiar with. You can leave any item blank if you have not read it. You don’t have to vote in all the categories.

What is the CSFFA Hall of Fame?

The Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association Hall of Fame was created to honour people who have over the past number of decades made a great contribution to the genre of Science Fiction and Fantasy. These would include not just people who write but includes people who have made a contribution either professionally or as a fan. We include artists, musicians, scientists, publishers, editors, organizers and fans.

Each year we select three people to be inducted into our Hall of Fame and have their name placed on the Hall of Fame trophy.

How are Hall of Fame inductees selected?

Members of CSFFA may nominate someone they feel would make a good inductee. Each year CSFFA selects an impartial four-person jury. After a review of all new and previously submitted candidates the jury chooses two they feel should be recognized this year.  Click here for more information on the Hall of Fame process.