Frank Watson Book Prize | College of Arts

Frank Watson Book Prize

The Frank Watson Book Prize in Scottish History 2023

The Frank Watson Book Prize for the best book or monograph published on Scottish History in 2021 and 2022 has been awarded to:

Neil McGuigan, Máel Coluim III, 'Canmore': An Eleventh-Century Scottish King. Edinburgh: John Donald, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd., 2021. ISBN: 9781910900192.

The jury’s citation reads:

This is a beautifully written book that tackles a period of profound change in Scottish history with admirable breadth and range. Neil McGuigan illuminates the complex history of the ‘Scotland’ of Máel Coluim’s world in a period (the ‘long lost eleventh century’) that is little-treated in traditional historical sources and, accordingly, in traditional historical scholarship. With deft analysis, and an extensive supporting scholarly apparatus, the book ranges far and wide across the entire North Sea World. McGuigan’s magnum opus offers a series of original and authoritative arguments regarding incidents, places, persons, and dates that have been contested in current scholarship. The book also offers a comprehensive survey of the historiography of Scotland in a period often characterised as dark and unknowable. This work will be read by an enthusiastic audience of Scottish, Scandinavian, and English historians.

We are delighted to honour Dr. McGuigan’s work alongside the many esteemed recipients of this prestigious prize.

The range and quality of the submissions this year was outstanding, and the judges of the Frank Watson Book Prize wish to thank all those who entered the competition.

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. The prize consists of a cash award, an invitation to present a public lecture and permission to advertise success in the competition.

Dr. McGuigan will present his work during a public Zoom lecture in autumn 2024. More details to come. 

Past Winners

2021: Fiona Edmonds, Gaelic Influence in the Northumbrian Kingdom: The Golden Age and the Viking Age (Boydell, 2019). 

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).