I have attended four different universities and graduated from three, but the University of Guelph was the first and will always be the one I associate with the rite-of-passage marvels of student life. Decades later, the memories still make me simper so I was delighted to stumble upon the University of Guelph Campus Author Recognition program which not only honours Guelph faculty, staff, students, and retirees but also alumni who write books.
The program which is run by the University Library celebrates authors for books published in the previous year by adding a specially identified copy of the book to its collection, by inviting the authors to a reception, and by presenting the Campus-related authors with neat plaques featuring their respective book covers. The honoured books are placed in a special display leading up to the reception event.
Any links I had to the university – human or intellectual – were long gone, but this seemed like a great excuse to revive them and visit the campus for the first time in thirty years.
Although submissions for honoured books are reviewed and require specific approval by the Chief Librarian, the stated criteria does not go beyond the above association with the university.
It happens that the year in which I first noticed the UofG recognition program website was the year I had published my most-peer-reviewed, researched, and edited book (Her Daughter the Engineer: the Life of Elsie Gregory MacGill), giving me the confidence to try to place myself among the academic and scholarly works that the program normally honours. The book and its author were accepted as was another biography (Stubborn: Big Ed Caswell and the Line from the Valley to the Northland) the year after.
Regrettably, both years that I was included in the Campus Author Recognition exercise, I could not manage to justify the expense and the time off work to travel to Guelph, attend the reception, and revisit UofG. My subsequent works are self-published, self-mocking, selfish efforts and did not seem fitting contributions to the UofG published-people pantheon. So, I did not submit them. My two Campus Author plaques were sent to me in boxes and were presented to me by the mailroom clerk at work.
Thus, in the end, my Campus Author recognition was defined by a lack of money and my non-writing day-job, making it very much the archetypal experience of a Canadian writer and a worthy addition to the Top 10 Canadian Writing Awards list.
Check out Satire of Machivelli's The Prince
IL Principio - The Principle
by Piccolò Mochiavelli
by Piccolò Mochiavelli