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Margaret Wade Labarge Prize

Photograph from the Heritage Photograph Collection, Archives and Research Collections, Carleton University Library.

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 welcomes submissions for the Margaret Wade Labarge Prize for 2024. 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.

Please send three copies of the book (hard copies) to the Labarge Prize committee chair, by 1 Feb. 2024:

Derek Neal

Department of History

Nipissing University

100 College Drive, Box 5002

North Bay, ON P1B 8L7


queries to:

The prize winner will be announced at the Annual General Assembly of the CSM in May 2024. The prize includes three years of membership to the CSM, including subscription to the journal Florilegium.

Past Winners of the Margaret Wade Labarge Prize

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).

2018 - Shannon McSheffrey, Seeking Sanctuary: Crime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550 (Oxford UP, 2017).
2017 - Levi Roach, Æthelred the Unready (Yale UP, 2016).
2016 - Fiona Somerset, Feeling Like Saints: Lollard Writings after Wycliff (Cornell UP, 2014).
2015 - Richard C. Hoffmann, An Environmental History of Medieval Europe (Cambridge UP, 2014).
2014 - Frank Klaassen, The Transformation of Magic: Illicit Learned Magic in the Later Middle Ages and Renaissance (Pennsylvania State UP, 2013).
2013 - James Grier, Ademari Cabennensis Opera liturgica et poetica: musica cum textibus (Brepols, 2012).
2012 - Rachel Koopmans, Wonderful to Relate: Miracle Stories and Miracle Collecting in High Medieval England (U of Pennsylvania P, 2011).
2011 - Frank Mantello and Joseph Goering, Letters of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (University of Toronto Press, 2010).
2010 - Anne Dunlop, Painted Palaces: The Rise of Secular Art in Early Renaissance Italy (Penn. State Press, 2009). 
2009 - Siân Echard, Printing the Middle Ages (U of Pennsylvania P, 2008).
2008 - Fiona J. Griffiths, The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century (U of Pennsylvania P, 2007).
2007 - No prize awarded.
2006 - Cynthia J. Neville, Native Lordship in Medieval Scotland: The Earltoms of Strathearn and Lennox, c. 1140-1365 (Four Courts Press, 2005).
2005 - Paul Dutton, Charlemagne's Mustache and Other Cultural Clusters of a Dark Age (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).
2004 - No prize awarded.
2003 - No prize awarded.
2002 - Mathew Kuefler, The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity, and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity (Chicago, 2001).
2001 - Alexander C. Murray, From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: A Reader (Broadview, 2000).
2000 - No prize awarded.
1999 - Sheila Delany, Impolitic Bodies: Poetry, Saints, and Society in Fifteenth-Century England: The Work of Osbern Bokenham (Oxford UP, 1998).

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