In lieu of a blog article this week, I want to take the opportunity to remind you all that the deadline for both the $10,000 Wilson Book Prize and the $1,000 Viv Nelles Essay Prize is tomorrow … and maybe even convince a few more of you to send in your nominations.

Viv Nelles Essay Prize

The Viv Nelles Essay Prize was founded in 2016 in honor of the Wilson Institute’s first director, Viv Nelles. The prize is awarded to the graduate student paper that best places Canada in a transnational setting. Prose is also taken into consideration. For those of you that know Viv, you will know that along with being a great historian – the only two-time winner of the Sir. John A. MacDonald Prize – and, personally speaking, a great supervisor, he is, above all, a perfectionist with regards to good writing. Viv is widely recognized as one of the very best “writers” in our discipline and he expected no less from his students. When we unveiled the prize last year, Viv was quick to stress that writing should be an important part of the award.

Last May, we awarded our first Viv Nelles Essay Prize to Alexandra Montgomery, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her winning paper –

Alexandra accepting her prize.

“Philadelphia’s Plantations: The Great Nova Scotian Land Boom and Reimagining the British Empire Between the Wars, 1763-1775” – examined Nova Scotia in the years between the Seven Year’s War and the American War of Independence. Along with a $1,000 cheque, Alexandra’s name was etched on a commemorative plaque that will forever hang on the walls of the Wilson Institute.

Though we have received several nominations from all over the country, we can always get more. This award is open to any and every graduate student that, in 2017, has written a paper that places Canada in a transnational context. Our definition of “graduate student paper” is very flexible. It could be a graduate seminar/course paper, a conference paper, a master’s research paper, field paper, etc. And while last year we asked that professors and supervisors nominate their students,this year we accept nomination from students themselves. Be the next winner of the Viv Nelle Essay Prize, win a $1,000 cheque, have you name forever enshrined on our 6”X15” plaque, send us your papers!

We will accept nomination until this Friday.

Wilson Book Prize 

First awarded in 2010, the Wilson Book Prize underwent a significant transformation last year. Initially, the prize was awarded to the publisher the institute “deem[ed] to have excelled at publishing and promoting innovative writing in Canadian History.” The institute’s director would judge each publisher’s yearly catalogue and evaluate the quantity, quality, and variety of books that were produced. In the past, Dundurn Press, UBC Press, Between the Lines, and McGill-Queen’s University Press have won the prize. However, last year we changed the formula. Rather than awarding the prize based on a publisher’s yearly catalogue, we began asking publishers to send in the book – or in the case of many publishers, the bookS – from their 2016 catalogue that “offers the best exploration of Canadian history that, in the view of the Wilson Institute, succeeds in making Canadian historical scholarship accessible to a wide and transnational audience.” A book, not an entire catalogue, would decide the winner.

Last year, we – the director and Wilson fellows – awarded the Wilson Book Prize to Between the Lines for their graphic novel Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle. We appreciated the way the book took key and complex

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Last year’s winner

moments in labour history and made them accessible to an audience beyond historians and academics. You can read more about it here. Between the Lines walked away with a $10,000 cheque and their name was added, once again, on our commemorative plaque. So far this year, we’ve received numerous nominations – many more than last year – however, we can get always get more! If there is a book that you believe deserves to be nominated – and yes, it can be your own – contact your publisher, tell them about the Wilson Book Prize, and encourage them to send it in. We will accept nominations beyond the January 30 deadline, but let me know by email about your intensions to nominate a book.

That’s all for now.

– Max