The prize for the best book published by a Canadian medievalist is named for the Society’s first President Dr Margaret Wade Labarge. It was instantly dubbed “The Polly,” reflecting the nickname by which this warm and beloved medievalist was known from coast to coast.
Throughout her career Dr Labarge was an academic anomaly. She was an inspiring figure and a respected independent scholar. Although she taught at Carleton and Ottawa from time to time, she did not hold a full-time academic appointment. Nevertheless, she was a sought-after speaker and her scholarship was acclaimed across Canada and throughout the United Kingdom and the United States. She wrote nine books on a sweeping array of topics ranging from A Baronial Household of the Thirteenth Century (1965); The Life of Louis IX of France (1968); Medieval Travellers (1982); and perhaps most significantly, Women in Medieval Life (1986), a pioneering monograph dedicated to the study of women in the Middle Ages. Her contributions to medieval studies in Canada was recognized by election to the Royal Society of Canada and appointment to the Order of Canada.
With this award for an outstanding book, the Society seeks to recognize and encourage the quality and diversity of scholarship exhibited by our first President, Margaret Wade Labarge.
Margaret Wade Labarge Prize 2024
The Canadian Society of Medievalists/La société Canadienne des médiévistes will welcome submissions for the Margaret Wade Labarge Prize for 2024 in late 2023 (details to come). The Prize will be awarded to a book published in 2023 on a medieval subject (scholarly monograph, edition, translation, or other academic books will be accepted by the prize committee). The book must be written (or co-written) by a Canadian medievalist or a medievalist who lives in Canada. Edited collections of essays are not eligible.
The prize winner will be announced at the Annual General Assembly of the CSM in May 2024. The prize includes a money award and three years of membership to the CSM, including subscription to the journal Florilegium.
For further information on the winning books, see the entries below this list.
2023 - Lori Jones, Patterns of Plague: Changing Ideas about Plague in England and France, 1348-1750 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2022).
2022 - Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, The Clerical Proletariat and the Resurgence of Medieval English Poetry (UPenn P, 2021)
2021 - John Osborne, Rome in the Eighth Century: A History in Art (Cambridge University Press, 2020)
2020 - David K. Coley, Death and the Pearl Maiden: Plague, Poetry, England (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2019).
2019 - James Grier, Ademarus Cabannensis Monachus et Musicus. Corpus Christianorum, Autographa Medii Aevi, 7. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018).