Award-winning work from 3 Arts profs

Publications by Saint Mary’s professors have been generating national and international attention throughout the spring season.

Along with the 2019 O. Henry Prize for Dr. Alexander MacLeod’s short story “Lagomorph”, here are some other titles earning kudos and great reviews, just in time for the summer reading season.

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National award for exploring identity through tourism promotion  

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Dr. Nicole Neatby admits she’s “an annoying tourist to travel with” because she likes to stop an analyze tourism ads along the way.

“My friends will say, ‘let’s just travel and enjoy. That’s the detrimental effect of studying certain topics,” jokes the History professor, who also teaches in the Atlantic Canada Studies Program. 

She is fresh back from Vancouver, where the Canadian History Association just presented her with its 2019 Clio award for her new book, From Old Quebec to La Belle Province: Tourism Promotion, Travel Writing, and National Identities: 1920-1967. (McGill-Queen’s University Press). The award recognizes exceptional contributions to regional history; she received the Clio for the Quebec region.

The book has also inspired a new “History of Tourism” course Dr. Neatby will teach this winter, which will be of interest to students in Arts and Business students at Saint Mary’s. 

“I didn’t set out to write a history of tourism in Quebec,” explains Neatby. “What I was really interested in was how people remember their past. What do they think is significant about their past, what do they see as important?”

Quebec’s tourism ads from earlier in the 20th century focused on the province’s rich history, and Neatby was fascinated to see how this shifted: “Nations are like people, they want to put their best foot forward and say this is what is attractive or unique about me. And Quebeckers changed their minds. Toward Expo 1967, they wanted to say ‘we are a modern society, really cutting edge on so many fronts,’ which was a very different image.”

For her next project, Neatby is casting a similar eye on tourism and culture promotion in Halifax. One chapter will look at American jazz musicians who performed here during the Prohibition years, and what sort of reception and promotion they received.

More immediately, she’s soon heading to Scotland for a vacation, and expects to pay keen attention to the tourism ads. “I have a 13-yr old niece who will be travelling with me and I’m very aware that I might bore her to tears,” she says with a grin.

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Provincial award for short creative non-fiction

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Congratulations are in order for Dr. Ariel Watson, a creative writing professor with the Department of English Language & Literature. On May 9, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia announced winners of its annual Nova Writes competition for unpublished manuscripts. Dr. Watson’s manuscript “Beasts of Myth” won H. R. (Bill) Percy Short Creative Non-Fiction Prize.

The citation from judge Marjorie Simmins: “The author has written a resonant and complex story, with themes of multi-generational family ties and interactions, looming death, the reshapings of personal histories, the romantic pulls of times gone by, and the essence and changing composition of memory, as connected to a time, and its people.”

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Honourable mention for a ‘monumental and masterful work’  

Kudos also to Dr. Blake Brown of the History department and Atlantic Canada Studies Program. His book A History of Law in Canada, Vol 1: Beginnings to 1866 , co-edited with Philip Girard and Jim Phillips, received an honourable mention for the W. Wesley Pue Book Prize from the Canadian Law & Society Association, for best book on a social legal subject. See the June 5 announcement on the Canadian Legal History Blog.

It is “a monumental and masterful work,” the judges said in their citation. “It fills a gap in Canadian scholarship by providing a comprehensive, well-written and informative account of the history of law in Canada. Its 900 pages of text and footnotes reflect an astonishing range of knowledge. It breaks new ground in its sweep and scale, and its interweaving of the history of the three pillars of Canadian law: common law, civil law and Indigenous legal orders. It will be a classic for many years, a guide and inspiration to Canadian legal historians for generations to come."

 The book was published in 2018 by the Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, and Dr. Brown is currently working with his co-editors on the second volume.