Cook, adjunct research professor in the Department of History, received the 2016 prize in the English non-fiction category for his book Fight to the Finish: Canadians in the Second World War, 1944-1945. This is the second time he has won the award.
“It is a great honour to be recognized with this award,” said Cook. “This book, Fight to the Finish, and the first in the series, The Necessary War, span the entire Canadian war effort from 1939 to 1945, and explore the veterans’ experience and the memory of the war. It is these eyewitnesses who speak loudest in the book. I spent years in the archives reading their letters and diaries, and their powerful words offer new insight into the experience of battle, the clash of arms and how service personnel cope and endure.“
Fight to the Finish is a memorable account of Canadians in World War II who fought abroad and of the home front that was changed forever. In this second installment, Cook combines an extraordinary grasp of military strategy with a deep empathy for the soldiers on the ground, at sea and in the air.
Smart, Distinguished Research Professor and Chancellor’s Professor Emerita in the Department of French, received the 2016 prize in the French non-fiction category for her book De Marie de l’Incarnation à Nelly Arcan. This is the second time she has won the award, the first being in 2000 for her book Les Femmes du Refus Global.
“The book was a retirement project,” said Smart, “and I worked on it for more than 10 years after my retirement from Carleton in 2005. My colleagues from the French Department and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) were very supportive, and I was stimulated by the discussions I had with them over the years I was writing it. The Ottawa Book Award feels like the icing on the cake for a book I loved working on.”
De Marie de l’Incarnation à Nelly Arcan: se dire, se faire par l’écriture intime is a study of Quebec women’s autobiographies, diaries and correspondences from New France to the present day. The book has won two other prestigious awards, the Gabrielle Roy Prize and the Prix Lionel Groulx, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the Canada Prize. The book was an attempt to find out, in their own words, what women thought, felt and experienced in the different periods of Quebec history. Smart wanted to bring these women to life for her readers and to provide a new perspective on some important moments in Quebec history. She is now translating it into English. The translation will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2017.
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