Awards and Prizes

The Hagiography Society Book Prize

The Sherry L. Reames Graduate Student Travel Award for Hagiographical Studies


The Hagiography Society Book Prize

Deadline: 30 May 2018

The Hagiography Society is pleased to announce the second year of its book prize.  This prize will be awarded to a scholarly first book written on any disciplinary subject that makes an outstanding contribution to the study and understanding of saints, holy men and women, virtue traditions, and the concept of sanctity in ideational, literary, artistic, and sociohistorical dimensions in the pre-modern period. Books concerning all geographies and religious systems are eligible. The monetary value of the prize is $500. The author of the book presented to the competition must be a member of the Hagiography Society by the time of the book’s submission. Each year, the prize committee will consist of three scholars called upon by the Society to fulfill the task of awarding the prize. The submission deadline for the prize is 30 May 2018 and the recipient of the prize will be announced latest by mid-fall of 2018.  All books that have been published between May 2016-April 2017 are eligible for the prize.  Please arrange for 3 copies of your book/manuscript to be sent to: Neslihan Şenocak, Department of History, Columbia University, 510 Fayerweather Hall, New York, NY 10027.

The Sherry L. Reames Graduate Student Travel Award for Hagiographical Studies

Deadline: 1 November 2017

The Hagiography Society is pleased to invite applications for the Sherry L. Reames Graduate Student Travel Award for Hagiographical Studies. Named in honor of the beloved founder and long-time leader of the Society, the award provides $300 to be used toward travel to present at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, held annually at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.


Students enrolled in a graduate program (anywhere in the world) are eligible to apply if their paper, on a topic involving hagiography, has been accepted for inclusion in the program of the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI, at the time of application. Preference may be given to Hagiography Society members.


Please submit the following documents, combined in a single .PDF file, by 1 November to the Secretary / Treasurer of the Hagiography Society:

  • a current curriculum vitæ
  • the abstract for the accepted paper, identifying the panel on which it will be presented
  • a cover letter, addressing the following questions:
    • How does this paper fit into your scholarly trajectory?
    • Have you presented at a scholarly conference before?
    • Have you received other funding for travel (this paper or others)?

Successful applicants will be informed of the results by December 15.

You may download this information as a .PDF file.

We welcome contributions in any amount to the Sherry L. Reames Graduate Student Travel Award for Hagiographical Studies:

Past Winners for the Hagiography Society Book Prize

The Hagiography Society is very pleased to announce the winner of its inaugural Book Prize, which is awarded every year to a first book. The Prize of 2017 has been awarded to Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent for her monograph Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015). We congratulate Prof. Saint-Laurent warmly on her achievement. We also thank all scholars who sent their books for consideration. This year’s award committee consisted of Kathleen Ashley (University of Southern Maine), Mary Morse (Rider University) and Claudia Rapp (University of Vienna). We thank the members of the committee very much for taking on this service to scholarship. The Committee’s comment on the prize-winning book:

 Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches, Transformation of the Classical Heritage 55 (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015)

 The book constitutes the first presentation of Syriac hagiographical material relating to Christian mission. It offers a reading of hagiographic writing in the Syriac tradition (300 to 800) about their founding holy men, each of whom functions as a “missionary” for their various communities. These stories mythologize the saint and idealize the history of the religious group they are trying to validate vis a vis competitor Christian groups and political authorities of the region.

The book makes a compelling case why missionary narratives should be regarded as crucial texts for understanding Syrian Christianity. It draws attention to a sub-genre of hagiography and a linguistic region of hagiographical production that has until now been open only to specialists.

It is an outstanding first book, written in a vivid style and highly conscious of methodological issues. Placing hagiographical narratives on the broader canvas of Christian mission east of the Roman Empire, it is of equal importance to the study of hagiography, the history of Christianity, and late antique and medieval history.

Past Winners for the Sherry L. Reames Travel Award

Dorottya Uhrin, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, “The Earliest Cult of Saint Margaret of Antioch in Hungary” (2017-2018)

Lydia Walker, UT-Knoxville, “The Formulation of Female Holiness and Masculine Integrity: An Examination of Lutgard of Aywières and Jacques de Vitry” (2017-2018)

John Fry, UT-Austin, “Hagiography and Dorigen’s Discontent in the ‘Franklin’s Tale’” (2016-2017)

Mary Anne Gonzales, Guelph University, “Imitation and Feeling: Sorrow and Compassion in the Stigmata of Elizabeth of Spalbeek” (2016-2017)

Christopher Paolella, U. Missouri-Columbia, “Servi et Servi Dei: Slaves and Saints in Early-Medieval Hagiography” (2016-2017)

David A. Heayn, City University of New York, “Byzantine Monasticism in Two Anatolian Provinces, ca. 500-700” (2015-2016)

Véronique Olivier, Université de Montréal and Université Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, “Saint Lambert in Vence: Plurisecular Fortune of a Local Cult” (2015-2016)

Britton Brooks, Oxford University, “The Vernacular Fenland: the literal landscape of the anonymous Old English prose Life of Saint Guthlac” (2014-2015)

Amy Devenney, University of Leeds, “‘You take the high road and I’ll take the low road’: exploring the experience of pilgrimage to monastic and civic shrines in twelfth century Apulia” (2014-2015)

Ashley Laverock, Emory University, “Dynamic Hagiography: Image and Inscription in the Thirteenth-Century Stained-Glass Window of St. Margaret of Antioch at Ardagger Abbey” (2014-2015)

Murrielle Michaud, Wilfrid Laurier University, “The Middle English Vita of Christina the Astonishing: Secular Hagiography, Patience Literature, and Biography” (2013-2014)

Jenny Bledsoe, Emory University, “Intercession and Devotion: Guthlac and Bartholomew in the Old English Prose Guthlac and Vercelli Homily XXIII” (2013-2014)

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