Frank Watson Book Prize | College of Arts

Frank Watson Book Prize

The Frank Watson Book Prize is awarded in odd-numbered years for the best monograph, edited collection and/or book-length original work on Scottish History published in the previous two years (between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2020). The prize consists of a cash award, an invitation to present a plenary lecture and permission to advertise success in the competition. We are pleased to announce that our 2021 competition is now open. 

Authors, publishers or other sponsors should submit three copies of the nominated book with covering letter as follows by 30 June 2021 for consideration.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, we strongly prefer that submissions be sent as electronic books or PDFs to If electronic copies are unavailable, please send three physical copies of the nominated book to:

Professor Kevin James
Scottish Studies Foundation Chair
Director, Centre for Scottish Studies
MCKN Extension 1008
University of Guelph
50 Stone Rd E
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1

Please contact the Centre with any related inquiries.

Past Winners

2019: Tim Shannon, Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).
2019 "Honorary Mention": Aaron Allen, Building Early Modern Edinburgh: A Social History of Craftwork and Incorporation (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018).
2019 "Best First Book": Valerie Wallace, Scottish Presbyterianism and Settler Colonial Politics (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
2017: David G. Barrie and Susan Broomhall, Police Courts in Nineteenth-Century Scotland (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015).
2017 "Highly Commended First Book": Matthew P. Dziennik, The Fatal Land. War, Empire and the Highland Soldier in British America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015).
2015 - Allan Kennedy, Governing Gaeldom: The Scottish Highlands and the Restoration State, 1660-1688 (Northern World, Leiden: Brill, 2014).
2015 "Highly Commended": David H. Caldwell and Mark A. Hall (eds.), The Lewis Chessmen: New Perspectives (Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland, 2014).
2015 "Highly Commended First Book": Siobhan Talbott, Conflict, Commerce and Franco-Scottish Relations, 1560-1713 (London and Brookfield, VT: Pickering & Chatto, 2014).
2013: Marjory Harper, Scotland No More? The Scots who Left Scotland in the 20th Century (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2012).
2011: Diarmid A. Finnegan, Natural History Societies and Civic Culture in Victorian Scotland (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2009).
2011 "Highly Commended": S. Karly Kehoe, Creating a Scottish Church: Catholicism, Gender and Ethnicity in Nineteenth-Century Scotland (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010).
Mark R. M. Towsey, Reading the Scottish Enlightenment: Books and Their Readers in Provincial Scotland, 1750-1820 (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishing, 2010).
2009: John J. McGavin, Theatricality and Narrative in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).
2009 "Highly Commended": Roger L. Emerson, Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment: Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008).
2009 "Highly Commended First Book": David G. Barrie, Police in the Age of Improvement: Police Development and the Civic Tradition in Scotland, 1775-1865 (Uffculme: Willan Publishing, 2008).
2007: Richard B. Sher, The Enlightenment & the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, & America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).
2005: David Stevenson, The Hunt for Rob Roy: The Man and the Myths (Edinburgh: J. Donald, 2004).
2003: Richard Rodger, The Transformation of Edinburgh: Land, Property and Trust in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
2001: Keith Brown, Noble Society in Scotland: Wealth, Family, and Culture from the Reformation to the Revolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000).
1999: Callum G. Brown, Up-helly-aa: Custom, Culture and Community in Shetland (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998).
1997: Allan I. Macinnes, Clanship, Commerce, and the House of Stuart, 1603-1788 (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1996).
1995: Carol Eddington, Court and Culture in Renaissance Scotland: Sir David Lindsay of the Mount (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994).
1993: David Allen, Virtue, Learning and the Scottish Enlightenment: Ideas of Scholarship in Early Modern History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993).