Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards

LAC Scholar Awards banner

The Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards, co-presented by the LAC Foundation and Library and Archives Canada, with the generous support of Founding Sponsor Air Canada, recognize remarkable Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to the creation and promotion of our country’s culture, literary heritage and historical knowledge.

As the custodian of our distant past and of our recent history, Library and Archives Canada is an essential resource for all Canadians who wish to know themselves better, individually and collectively.

As such, it is essential for Library and Archives Canada and the Library and Archives Canada Foundation to recognize the exemplary work of those who support its fundamental mission which is to promote all aspects of Canadian culture, here and around the world.

This recognition also seeks to highlight the fact that the creation and dissemination of our heritage are increasingly democratic undertakings, no longer reserved to environments where knowledge has traditionally been developed.

caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right

“I would like to congratulate these incredible Canadians who have demonstrated the power of arts and heritage activities in our society. They have created works that defined a generation of Canadians and contributed significantly to arts, cultural and social service organizations."

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

The 2020 Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards Virtual Ceremony

2020 Recipients

Photo of Margaret Atwood
Picture credit: Liam Sharp

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 50 books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam trilogy. Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against the disempowerment of women, and with the 2017 release of the award-winning TV series. The Testaments, her long-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, won the 2019 Booker Prize.

Ms. Atwood has won numerous awards including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Photo of Roch Carrier
Picture credit: Michel Paquet

Roch Carrier

Roch Carrier was born on May 13, 1937, in Sainte-Justine, Quebec. He has a PhD in literature from the Sorbonne in France, and he also studied at the Université Saint-Louis in New Brunswick and the Université de Montréal.

From 1964 to 1994, Mr. Carrier was an instructor, professor and administrator at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. He served as Director of the Canada Council for the Arts between 1994 and 1997. He was the last National Librarian of Canada from 1999 to 2004, when the National Library merged with the National Archives and was renamed Library and Archives Canada.

In addition to his outstanding professional and academic achievements, Mr. Carrier is recognized for his talents as a novelist, playwright, and author of children’s stories and books. In 1970, his stage adaptation of his novel La Guerre, Yes Sir opened at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in Montréal; the play toured France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia in 1971. It was also performed at the Stratford Festival. His script for Le Martien de Noël became the first feature film for children made in Canada. His best-known work is “The Hockey Sweater.” This short story so effectively captured the national identity that an excerpt ended up on the back of the Canadian five-dollar bill. An Officer of the Order of Canada since 1991, and recipient of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 1992, Mr. Carrier has over 40 novels, poems, stories and other publications to his credit, making him one of Canada’s most illustrious literary figures.

Photo Charlotte Gray
Picture credit: Valberg Imaging

Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known biographers and writers of popular history. Author of 11 acclaimed books of literary non-fiction, her most recent best-seller is Murdered Midas. Her ability to provide original and intriguing entry points into Canadian history has earned her a large and faithful readership, and regular requests to appear on television and radio. She was the celebrity advocate for Sir John A. Macdonald on CBC’s “Who is the Greatest Canadian?”

Her other award-winning books include The Promise of Canada: People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country; The Massey Murder; Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention; and Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike. Gold Diggers was the basis of both a U.S. Discovery Channel docudrama and a PBS documentary.

Sisters in the Wilderness, published in 1999, was named as one of the 25 most influential Canadian books of the past 25 years by the Literary Review of Canada.

Ms. Gray has chaired the boards of both Canada’s National History Society and the Art Canada Institute, has been a board member of PEN Canada and the Ottawa International Writers Festival, and has been a juror for the International Cundill History prize, Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the RBC Taylor Prize.

Born in the United Kingdom, Ms. Gray came to Canada in 1978. An adjunct research professor at Carleton University, in Ottawa, she holds five honorary degrees and is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Photo Serge Joyal
Picture credit: Senate of Canada

Serge Joyal

The Honourable Serge Joyal, jurist, has served as a member of Parliament, cabinet minister and senator.

A champion of human rights and freedoms, especially of the French language in Canada, he has been at the forefront of fundamental constitutional debates in Canadian society over the past 40 years.

A collector of art and historical artifacts, Mr. Joyal is a patron of several large Canadian museums. He is a great benefactor of the Canadian War Museum, the Canadian Museum of History, and Library and Archives Canada, to name a few, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. As a forward-thinking defender of public heritage, he chairs the Fondation Lafontaine-Cormier, which aims to promote the legal heritage of Quebec.

Mr. Joyal is the author and co-editor of many articles and works concerning parliamentary and constitutional law, as well as numerous essays and articles about social and political history, including France-Canada-Québec : 400 ans de relations d’exception; Le Mythe de Napoléon au Canada français; Le Canada et la France dans la Grande Guerre 1914-1918; French Embassy in Canada; and Reflecting on Our Past and Embracing Our Future: A Senate Initiative for Canada.

Mr. Joyal has received several prestigious awards, honours and distinctions in Canada and France; most recently, he was promoted to the rank of Commander in the French Légion d’honneur.

Terry OReilly
Picture credit: Sidney O’Reilly

Terry O’Reilly

Terry O’Reilly began his career writing commercials for FM108 Radio in Burlington, Ontario. He went on to become an award-winning copywriter for leading Toronto advertising agencies Campbell-Ewald, Doyle Dane Bernbach and Chiat/Day. He created campaigns for many top brands, including Labatt, Pepsi USA, Goodyear Tires, Tim Hortons, Nissan and the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1990, he co-founded Pirate Radio & Television. A creative audio production company producing scripts, sound and music for radio and television commercials, Pirate grew to include eight recording studios in Toronto and New York City.

He served on the inaugural Radio jury at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in France in 2005, and was named chair of many marketing and advertising award show juries.

When he is not creating advertising, he is talking about it as the host of the award-winning CBC Radio One/Sirius Satellite/WBEZ Chicago radio show, Under The Influence, a follow-up to the hit series, The Age of Persuasion.

Mr. O’Reilly has been given lifetime achievement awards by the American Marketing Association, the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, and the Television Advertising Bureau. He has received honorary degrees from McMaster University, Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, and St. Mary’s University. He was also the inaugural inductee in the RTA School of Media Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Ryerson University, and received the Alumni Achievement Award in 2015.

He has co-written the bestselling book The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture. His latest bestseller, This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence, was named one of the best audiobooks of the year by

LAC Foundation Logo
Air Canada logo

2019 Recipients

Photo M-L Arsenault

Marie-Louise Arsenault

A journalist, show host, program developer and producer, Marie-Louise Arsenault has worked in media for 20 years. During her career, she has hosted cultural shows on television (“Jamais sans mon livre,” “Écran Libre“) and radio (“Le Mélange des Genres“), collaborated on the first four seasons of the daily television series “Flash,” and produced documentaries for television (Patrick Huard, portrait d’une première fois) and radio (L’Aventure internationale du cinéma québécois, Les Leçons de Denise Filiatrault). She also wrote a column on the media for five years in the magazine ici and the newspaper 24 Heures, and has contributed to numerous print media outlets as a journalist (Elle Québec, Clin D’œil, Chatelaine). Since August 2011, she has hosted the daily literary broadcast “Plus on est de fous, plus on lit,” which she developed, on Radio-Canada Première. She is also the host of “Dans les médias,” which airs weekly on Télé-Québec.

Photo R.Cohen

Ronald I. Cohen, MBE

Ronald Cohen has assembled bibliographically significant collections of the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery and Sir Winston Churchill. In 1998, he established the Ronald I. Cohen Lucy Maud Montgomery Collection at the National Library of Canada and he has provided LAC with four subsequent accessions of her works and related materials. His interest in Churchill led to the publication in 2006 of his definitive Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill; many articles in Finest Hour, the journal of the International Churchill Society; and more recently, in 2016, The Heroic Memory: The Memorial Addresses to the Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society, Edmonton, Alberta, 1990–2014. Cohen received the Farrow Award from the Churchill Centre in Chicago in 2012 for his “magisterial three-volume work Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill.” In June 2014, he was recognized on Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours list as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) “for services to British history,” one of only two Canadians, and the only Canadian resident, to be so honoured on that occasion. Cohen is regularly consulted on bibliographical issues relating to Churchill’s writings by persons around the world. He also co-founded and serves as President of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa. He has served on the Friends of Library and Archives Canada’s Board from its founding in 1991 until now. He was President from 2000–2008 and has been Past President since then.

Photo L.Hill

Lawrence Hill, C.M.

Lawrence Hill is a professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph. He is the author of ten books, including The Illegal, The Book of Negroes, Any Known Blood, and Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada. He is the winner of various awards including The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and two-time winner of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. Hill delivered the Canada-wide 2013 Massey Lectures, based on his non-fiction book Blood: The Stuff of Life. He co-wrote the adaptation for the six-part television miniseries The Book of Negroes, which attracted millions of viewers and won eleven Canadian Screen Awards. The recipient of eight honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, as well as the 2017 Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize, Hill served as chair of the jury of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He is a volunteer with Book Clubs for Inmates and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, and is an honorary patron of Crossroads International, for which he has volunteered for more than 35 years and with which he has travelled to Niger, Cameroon, Mali and Swaziland. He is working on a new novel about the African-American soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway in northern BC and Yukon in 1942-43. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, and lives in Hamilton, Ontario and in Woody Point, Newfoundland.

Photo F.Itani

Frances Itani, C.M.

Frances Itani, C.M., has written 17 books (best-selling novels, stories, poetry and children’s works), and essays and reviews for national and international publications. She is well known as a researcher, teacher and public speaker, and has been Writer-in-Residence at the Banff Centre and at several Canadian universities. She is three-time winner of the CBC Literary Award and twice won the Ottawa Book Award. Deafening earned a Commonwealth Prize, was translated in 17 countries, chosen for CBC’s ‘Canada Reads’ and ‘Combat des Livres,’ and ‘Book of the Year’ by Grant MacEwan University. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and William Saroyan International Award. The Washington Post selected Requiem as a top fiction title of 2012. Born in Belleville, Ontario, Ms. Itani grew up in Quebec, lived in seven Canadian provinces, has travelled widely, holds a B.A. (U of Alberta) and M.A. (U of New Brunswick), studied Nursing at the Montreal General Hospital, with graduate work at McGill and Duke universities. She has been involved in humanitarian work all her life and established The Itani Award for Flute, presented annually to a young musician at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. She lives in Ottawa and is presently at work on two novels.

Photo S.Rogers

Shelagh Rogers, O.C.

A veteran broadcast-journalist, Shelagh Rogers is the host and a producer of The Next Chapter, an award-winning CBC Radio program devoted to writing in Canada. In 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for promoting Canadian culture, and for advocating for mental health, adult literacy, and truth and reconciliation. Also in 2011, she was inducted as an Honorary Witness to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Through sharing what she witnessed, she has committed to helping create a national memory of the residential school era so that Canada will never forget, and never be able to deny what happened.

Shelagh is the co-editor of three books in the “Speaking My Truth” series on truth, justice and reconciliation published by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. She holds honorary doctorates from six Canadian universities. In 2014, she was the Jack Matthews Fellow at Trent University. Also that year, she received the Queen’s University Alumni Humanitarian Award. In October 2016, she received the inaugural Margaret Trudeau Award for Mental Health Advocacy. Shelagh is Chancellor of the University of Victoria and the founding Ambassador for the Canadian Canoe Museum.

2019 LAC Scholar Awards Ceremony