Briony Penn awarded Mack Laing Literary Prize

The Mack Laing Heritage Society is pleased to announce that author and educator Dr Briony Penn has been awarded the first Mack Laing Literary Prize for her biography of Ian McTaggart-Cowen “The Real Thing”.


The $1,000 literary prize is presented every 2 years to any writer who writes about Canada’s environmental history and commemorates the pivotal formative and transitional role played by Comox’s pre-eminent naturalist, Hamilton Mack Laing (1883-1982), and  the many contributions of Laing to the birth and development of progressive environmental consciousness.

Hamilton Mack Laing was especially chosen by the members of The Brotherhood of Venery to educate leading figures of BC’s environmental and naturalist community, for his many talents and progressive understanding of nature and man’s impacts, notably on oil on the marine environment, as of 1927.

As one of the four formative figures in the the making of Ian McTaggart-Cowan, he is a seminal figure behind the making of towering figures  of Canadian environmentalism, such as Farley Mowat and all of Cowan’s students and associates, including Dr. David Suzuki.  Additionally, he is the father of environmentalism in the Comox Valley, and therefore literary commemoration of his role should recognize all facets of his local and national contributions, as well the indignities of his treatment in Comox.

Dr Penn delivered a keynote lecture at the BC Nature Annual Convention, held in Courtenay May 12-15,2016.


She has also been awarded a BC Book Prize for her biography, which was published in 2015.


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