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Trent English Professor Wins National Literature Prize

June 6, 2019

Dr. Rita Bode awarded Gabrielle-Roy Prize for the edited collection, L.M Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s)

Cherry blossoms in bloom outside of Bata Library

English Professor Rita Bode, an acclaimed expert in 19th and early 20th century British and American literature, with a current research focusing on Anglo-American female literary traditions of the 19th and early 20th centuries, has been awarded a national literature prize.

On June 1 at the Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures Annual Conference, Prof. Bode, along with co-editor Jean Mitchell of UPEI, were presented with the Gabrielle-Roy Prize (English section) which annually honours the best book-length work of Canadian literary criticism published in English, for L.M Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s).

The collection focuses on the works of iconic Canadian author, Lucy Maud (L.M) Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, and brings the Montgomery’s turn-of-the-century depictions of nature into the current lens at a time of ecological crises and environmental anxieties across a variety of disciplines to take a fresh look at her life and work.

“We feel very honored to receive this award and appreciate greatly the exceptional work of our contributors in the chapters that make up the volume. We are grateful to McGill-Queen’s University Press for nominating the book, and to ACQL for choosing it from a strong field of nominations. And we thank the Awards to Scholarly Publication Program of the Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences for their support,” stated Prof. Bode, a faculty member at Trent University Durham GTA.

“When Jean Mitchell from the University of Prince Edward Island first approached me about the possibility of co-editing a collection on the same theme as the L. M. Montgomery Institute’s 2010 biennial conference, I accepted right away because of the relevance of the topic, and because the project offered such a strong opportunity for exploring and re-assessing Montgomery’s well-known appreciation of nature which, as the chapters show, expands in multiple yet intersecting directions. We hope that the award will continue to draw attention to Montgomery’s work and her important place in Canadian literature and culture, and further enhance her strong international following.”

The Gabrielle-Roy Prize is awarded by a jury of academic peers who when speaking of Prof. Bode’s winning collection noted that “anyone familiar with the orchard in Anne of Green Gables already knows that Montgomery’s flair for pastoral writing is among her finest attributes as a serious writer. However, the conceptual underpinnings of the collection shed new light on how this relation between place and character is part of a more sophisticated ecology of beliefs and behaviours that are urgently needed in a world facing widespread environmental degradation, accelerating climate change, and mass extinction of flora and fauna.”

Prof. Bode’s collection was shortlisted for the esteemed prize in May, alongside another Trent colleague, professor emeritus Dr. Michael A. Peterman for Delicious Mirth: The Life and Times of James McCarroll.

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