The Brian McConnell Book Award

The Brian McConnell Book Award, 2022


The Brian McConnell Book Award Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s winner is David J. Puglia’s edited volume North American Monsters: A Contemporary Legend Casebook (Utah State University Press, 2022). Featuring 19 essays by a wide variety of contemporary legend scholars, Puglia’s edited volume is exceptionally presented to encourage exploration and scholarship of the topic. While Puglia provides short introductions to each essay that provide biographical detail, point to distinctive issues raised in the essay, and provide important context, one reviewer notes, “Puglia breaks new ground by adding short bibliographies at the end of each essay, leading readers to other essays on the same general topic, many published after the anthologized article and so not to be found in the original notes.” The award committee also commends Puglia’s well-crafted introduction. A reviewer notes, “Puglia’s introduction is itself a major work that concedes the growing popularity of ‘monster studies’ in popular culture research and makes a strong case for viewing the genre of explicitly fictional monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein against the much broader range of indigenous monsters celebrated in oral culture.”

The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research has established an annual book prize in honor of Brian McConnell. The purpose of the award is to encourage scholarship in the field, to recognize and inspire standards of excellence in contemporary legend publications and to commemorate the life and work of Brian McConnell, a long time member of ISCLR, celebrated crime reporter, author and legend scholar.

The prize is for a book receiving its first publication in the period 1st April to the following 31st March, for award the following summer. Only books published during the proceeding twelve months will be considered. Eligible books will include original material or new scholarly editions of previously published texts, but excludes reprints.

Three copies of each book submitted for the award should reach the judges, c/o the Society’s President, by 31st March. Books submitted for the award will not be returned. The winner will be announced at the Annual General Meeting of ISCLR. The main prize will be the award itself, but the winning author (or authors) will also be presented with $250 (US).

There will be three judges appointed by the Society’s Council. The judges may, at their discretion, consider books which have not been formally submitted for the prize. The winning book will be that which, in the opinion of the judges made the most distinguished contribution to the study of contemporary legend in the year in question.

Books to be considered for the McConnell Award should be sent in triplicate to:

Virginia Siegel
Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts
University of Arkansas Libraries
MULN 425
365 North McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, AR 72701-4002

Recent winners

David J. Puglia, North American Monsters. A Contemporary Legend Casebook. Utah State University Press, 2022.


Tom Mould, Overthrowing the Queen. Telling Stories of Welfare in America. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2020.


Andrea Kitta, The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination and Folklore.  Logan:  Utah State University Press, 2019. (Download here)


Lynne S. McNeill and Elizabeth Tucker (eds.), Legend Tripping: A Contemporary Legend Casebook. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2018.


Not awarded

Not awarded

Keagan LeJeune, Legendary Louisiana Outlaws: The Villains and Heroes of Folk Justice. Baton Rouge:  Louisiana State University Press, 2016.


Joel Best and Kathleen A. Bogle, Kids Gone Wild: From Rainbow Parties to Sexting, Understanding the Hype over Teen Sex. New York and London: NYU Press, 2014.


Eda Kalmre, The Human Sausage Factory: A Study of Post-War Rumour in Tartu. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2013.


Not awarded

Andrea Kitta, Vaccinations and Public Concern in Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception. New York: Routledge, 2012.


Shelley R. Adler, Sleep Paralysys: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011.


Not awarded

Not awarded

Diane E. Goldstein, Sylvia Ann Grider, and Jeannie Banks Thomas, Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2007.


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