Justin Christopher Vovk is a Canadian author and historian of Slovenian and English background.
Justin has an Honours Degree in history with a minor in political science from Redeemer University. He spent his final semester reading history at Oxford, where he specialized in Tudor-Stuart history for his honours work. Justin completed his Masters Degree at McMaster University. His thesis is entitled Death on Display: Piety and Performance at the Funeral of Emperor Leopold.
Justin is currently a PhD student and teaching assistant at McMaster, specializing in royal ceremonials in the Habsburg Empire and Britain. His doctoral dissertation is entitled States of Death: Royal Funerals and State Building in Early Modern Britain and Austria, which focuses on how royal funerals have shaped ethnic identity in multi-ethnic states. This comparative dissertation specifically examines the funerals of King William III, Queen Anne, and King George I of Great Britain and the Habsburg emperors Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI.
After graduating high school, Justin studied theology and economics before graduating from the Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology with a diploma in journalism. Some of Justin's most memorable moments as an independent journalist include reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and Kosovo's highly controversial declaration of independence from Serbia.
Since 2002, Justin has been working on documenting and cataloging all the royal houses of Europe since the beginning of the Late Modern Period. It was this research into the complexities of royal marriages that inspired Justin to write a royalty encyclopedia. What started out as a project for personal enjoyment evolved into his first book, In Destiny's Hands: Five Tragic Rulers, Children of Maria Theresa. As a student, few publishers were willing to take on Justin's manuscript. On the advice of an agent, he self-published in October 2009. Within a month, In Destiny's Hands had made it into the top ten on Amazon.com's list of Marie Antoinette biographies and royal general biographies. The weekend that the Canadian edition was released in June 2010, In Destiny's Hands became the second highest selling book in Ontario after The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Justin's latest book, Imperial Requiem, was released on October 2, 2012. In April 2012, Imperial Requiem won both the iUniverse Editor's Choice Award and the Rising Star Award. Imperial Requiem became one of the fastest-selling independent books of 2013, and remained at the top of ebook sales from January to March. In March 2014, Imperial Requiem won the Star Award and a second edition will be released later in the year.
In 2014, Justin began writing for the European Royal History Journal.
Justin is also currently working on a third book, The Hollow Crown: Maria Theresa's Children, the Habsburg Legacy, and the End of Old Europe.
He is fluent in French, German, and Slovene.
Original author photo © courtesy of Stefanyie Hamilton/Heart to Heart Photography
Retouch courtesy of Kim Doucette/primeexposure.ca