UofG academic awarded The Jack Medal

Published: 23 April 2024

The International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures has announced the winner of the prestigious Jack Medal.

Dr Jamie Reid Baxter and Dr Suchitra Choudhury 700 x 300

The International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures has announced the winner of the prestigious Jack Medal. 

The Jack Medal is awarded annually for the best article or book chapter on a subject related to reception or diaspora in Scottish Literatures (including Scots, English, Gaelic and Latin). 

Dr Jamie Reid Baxter, an Honorary Research Fellow in UofG’s School of Humanities,  won the 2023 medal for his article ‘Esther Inglis: A Franco-Scottish Jacobean Writer and her Octonaries upon the Vanitie and Inconstancie of the World,’ which was published in the journal Studies in Scottish Literature. 

While Dr Suchitra Choudhury, an Affiliate Researcher based at UofG’s School of Critical Studies, was awarded an Honourable Mention for her chapter ‘Frederick Niven’s The Paisley Shawl (1931),’ which forms part of her monograph Textile Orientalisms: Cashmere and Paisley Shawls in British Literature and Culture (Ohio UP, 2023). 

The Jack Medal is named in honour of Professor Ronald Dyce Sadler Jack (1941-2016), Professor of Scottish and Mediaeval Literature at the University of Edinburgh from 1987-2004 and director of the Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation. Professor Jack’s work on Scottish literature’s Continental and Italian dimensions was ground-breaking. From his The Italian Influence in Scottish Literature (1972) on, he championed a concept of Scottish literature open to the world and engaged in dialogue with it. 

On behalf of Professor Jack’s family, Isla Jack said: ‘As we complete the seventh year of the Jack Prize, our family continue to be encouraged by the diversity and depth of literary research taking place in areas of work that sat close to Ronnie’s own interests.  

“He would have been heartened to see how, each year, the authors take us on a journey across lands, genres and writers. This is clearly shown in the wide range of topics that have been addressed by winners over the years. My heartfelt congratulations go to Jamie Reid Baxter as this year’s recipient of the medal, and I hope others continue to be inspired by the call for further applications this year.” 

Dr Reid Baxter, said: “I am genuinely moved by the award of the 2023 Jack Medal in recognition of my article, for Ronnie Jack was a treasured friend and a tireless encourager and supporter of my work in exploring less familiar aspects of Scottish Renaissance writing.  

“The 2023 Jack Medal means that I am now able to share with him, posthumously, my joy in the work of Esther Inglis, which I first encountered only in July 2018. Inglis was the daughter of two Huguenot refugees, Nicolas Langlois and Marie Presot, who made their home in Edinburgh from mid-1574 onwards. 2024 is the 450th anniversary of the opening of the ‘Franche scole’ that they operated in James VI’s capital.  2024 is also the 400th anniversary of their daughter Esther Inglis’ death in Edinburgh, which Ronnie Jack’s own Edinburgh University is marking in style. I owe a great debt to the scholars and librarians who shared their research and images of manuscripts with me.” 

He added: “On her (Esther Inglis’) behalf, as it were, I thank the IASSL for acknowledging her life and work; I likewise thank Patrick Scott and his team at the journal Studies in Scottish Literature, and Dr Georgianna Ziegler, who co-edited the text of the fifty Octonaries with me, for the time and care they put into making sure that Esther the poet has now been brought before the world.” 

Dr Choudhury said: “ I am delighted to have received an Honorary Mention for my book chapter. As a twentieth-century diasporic novelist, Niven was fully aware of the Janus-faced character of Scotland, whose people identified as being both involuntary emigrants and aggressive colonisers. The award is an appropriate reminder and incentive to inspect more thoroughly, with cross-disciplinary approaches, the multivalent ways in which countries such as Canada and India feature in Scottish literature.” 


First published: 23 April 2024