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Amos wins Stuart-Stubbs prize

March 07th, 2023

Victoria’s Robert Amos has won the 2023 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia for E.J. Hughes: Canadian War Artist (Touchwood Editions $35).

In this, the third volume of an award-winning series on BC artist E. J. Hughes (1913–2007), Robert Amos turns his focus to Hughes’ service in the Second World War. The narrative begins with Hughes’ cadet days with the Seaforth Highlanders in Vancouver, followed by his enlistment at the Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt in 1939. Named the first “service artist” in 1941, Hughes spent two winters in Ottawa before being posted to London where he was attached to different regiments in England and Wales. His paintings of camp life and convoys reflect his keen attention to the details of vehicles, artillery and uniforms. In 1943 on the Alaskan island of Kiska, Hughes transformed sub-zero weather and howling gales into a powerful document of this remote theatre of war. He returned to Ottawa where he worked until 1946—Canada’s first, last, and longest-serving War Artist of the Second World War. He was also the most prolific.

The book features seventy artworks from the Canadian War Museum’s holdings, expanded with many personal photos and sketches from the artist’s papers. The narrative situates Hughes’s wartime work within the broader context of his life and his development as an artist. With the care and knowledge of a fellow artist, Amos draws the reader into this important chapter in the life of E. J. Hughes and Canadian art.

Robert Amos is a self-employed artist and writer, known in his hometown as “the man who paints Victoria.” E. J. Hughes: Canadian War Artist is his twelfth book, and is the fifth title about Hughes.



The shortlisted titles for the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize are:

Wilson Duff: coming back, a life (Harbour Publishing $39.95) by Robin Fisher.

Chinese Victoria: a long and difficult journey (Discover the Past $84) by John Adams.












Basil Stuart-Stubbs. Photo courtesy UBC archives.

Basil Stuart-Stubbs made a lasting contribution to the University of British Columbia and to scholarship, as well as the broader world of Canadian writing and publishing. His multi-faceted career at UBC included serving as:

  • the first Head of Special Collections;
  • University Librarian from 1964 to 1981;
  • and Director of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) from 1981 to 1992.

As well as being a leading advocate for the establishment of the Public Lending Right for Canadian authors, Basil took particular interest in the production and distribution of Canadian books. His significant accomplishments include:

  • chairing the UBC Publications Centre, which created UBC Press (Basil was Chair of the UBC Press Board for 10 years and Acting Director for a year);
  • collaborating with Bill Duthie and Harald Bohne to establish Canadian Books in Print, a key reference source;
  • organizing the first conference on regional publishing in Western Canada, which led to the establishment of the Association of B.C. Book Publishers;
  • serving as a founding member and second President of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions;
  • serving as a founding member of the Alcuin Society;
  • serving as a founding Board member of the SFU Centre for Canadian Publishing;
  • participating in the establishment of the scholarly journal Canadian Literature (he was the first Circulation Manager).

Basil Frederick Stuart-Stubbs, the eighth University Librarian at UBC, passed away on May 29, 2012. He was 82.

After his passing, many tributes were published, including “Basil Frederick Stuart-Stubbs: bibliophile, scholar, librarian” by UBC Library,  “He made books and writers a priority” in the Globe and Mail, “Basil Stuart-Stubbs: 1930-2012″ in Quill & Quire and “Remembering Basil Stuart-Stubbs” in ABC Bookworld.

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