Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) and Quebec City (Quebec)
The 2012 Sir John A. Macdonald Prize for the best non-fiction work of history was awarded to François-Marc Gagnon, Nancy Senior and Réal Ouellet for the book, The Codex Canadensis and the Writings of Louis Nicolas: The natural history of the New World, Histoire Naturelles des Indes Occidentales, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.
The judges called the Codex “stunningly beautiful,” adding that the work “can scarcely be praised too highly.”The book brings to a modern audience the writings and drawings of a French Jesuit priest, Louis Nicolas, who explored Canada between 1664 and 1675. Nicolas documented the plants, animals, and native peoples he encountered, leaving us a fantastic historical legacy. “As a physical object, it is one of beauty…. As an act of sustained editorial ingenuity… it is impeccable…. As a work of interdisciplinary research, it is simply outstanding,” said the jury.
François-Marc Gagnon is founding director and distinguished research fellow of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art and a member of the Order of Canada.