Recipient of the Gabrielle Roy Prize 2010
Canadian Women in Print, 1750-1918, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press
The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures (ACQL) is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2010 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English Section), which each year honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism published in English, has been awarded to Carole Gerson for Canadian Women in Print, 1750-1918, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. The book was chosen by a jury composed of Alison Calder (University of Manitoba), Laura Moss (University of British Columbia), and Cynthia Sugars (University of Ottawa) from among the twenty books submitted this year, for its outstanding contribution to scholarship on Canadian literature. Gerson’s study constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of women’s participation in Canadian book history and the development of Canadian literature. Arguing the ongoing need for recognition of the significance of work done by women, Gerson blends a materialist sociological approach with literary and biographical history. By situating the women she studies within these multiple and overlapping contexts, Gerson furthers our understanding of Canadian social history and advances knowledge of Canadian publishing more generally. The result is a nuanced and probing history of print in Canada.
The jury would also like to congratulate the two shortlisted finalists in this year’s competition: first, Jenny Kerber for Writing in Dust: Reading the Prairie Environmentally published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, and second, Amy Lavender Harris for Imagining Toronto published by Mansfield Press. Kerber’s study is a timely and theoretically compelling approach to the intersections between textuality and environment. This book enlarges an established critical field by ranging across genres and historical periods in its consideration of Canadian prairie writing. The text points to how the stories we tell about a place affect what we do with and to that place and, in focusing on environmental concerns, demonstrates the relevance of literary analysis to real-world activities. This work can provide a model for critical approaches to literary regionalism in other contexts. Harris’s work is an evocative and compelling study of the imaginative rendering of Toronto in Canadian literature. It details the ways the city is textually constructed as both a real and imagined space. Emphasizing the multiple ways in which Toronto has been represented, Imagining Toronto reveals a city whose meaning is under continual negotiation, and where the distribution of power has the potential to be disrupted and reconstituted daily