Campus Author Program Celebrates 10 Years

More than 800 members of the Guelph community have been recognized for publishing achievements since the program’s inception

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Campus Author, U of GGovernor-General Literary Award winner Thomas King will read from his award-winning book The Back of the Turtle at the Campus Author reception in the McLaughlin Library’s Academic Town Square Nov. 5. The event, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, begins at 4:30 p.m.

King, who is also a retired U of G faculty member, is among 95 authors who will be honoured for 116 titles at this year’s event. Since its inception, more than 800 members of the Guelph community have been recognized for their publishing achievements through the program.

Melanie Boyd, a former U of G librarian, started the Campus Author program after hearing of similar initiatives at other universities that highlight the writing accomplishments of the community. The earlier events at U of G included only books by faculty, staff and students; today books by alumni and retired faculty are also recognized.

It’s a special occasion for the writers involved. “Writers tend to be hermits, so an event like this gives the campus community a chance to see who the writers among us are, and gives the writers a chance to hang out with each other,” says King.

“Some of our writers have rather obscure topics and a limited audience,” says Carol Perry, research enterprise and scholarly communication librarian, and one of the organizers of the event. “For them, this event may be the only recognition they get.”

Thomas King

Thomas King

“People who do academic writing work as hard as and even harder than fiction writers do,” says King. “They have to stick to facts, which I hate. They have to do real research, which I loathe. I much prefer to be God of my own world and just make things up. But there is a lot of good research and writing being done in our community, and this is a chance to acknowledge it.”

Traditional printed and bound books make up most of the volumes included, but Perry says the organizing committee reviews the policies annually about which books are included. “This year, for the first time, we are including books that are accessible only on platforms not available to the library, such as those published in electronic format only,” she says.

The Library will purchase one copy of each printed book recognized at the event, and each one will have a special bookplate attached to indicate it is a Campus Author book. The authors will also receive a plaque for each book published in the past 12 months. A new design is created each year by the Library’s communications team, and each plaque features an image of the book’s cover on it.

This year the event will include special recognition of Boyd’s book of poetry, Incunabula, to recognize her role establishing the Campus Author program at U of G. “With her book included, we come full circle,” says Perry.