MacEwan University’s next book of the year will be Bad Cree by alum Jessica Johns.

The MacEwan Book of the Year is an annual celebration of one work of Canadian literature that is taught in coursework across multiple disciplines. The program also features several campus events, including classroom visits from the author, a public reading and a student contest.

“The wonder of Book of the Year remains its ability to draw the campus together in the consideration of a single text,” says MacEwan Provost and Vice-President Dr. Craig Monk. “We are beyond thrilled to feature, this year, the work of a graduate, a member of the MacEwan community, and to celebrate a literary achievement that has captured the imagination of readers drawn to a story about family life and the fantastic.”

The Book of the Year is chosen annually by a committee of faculty, staff and students, from suggestions brought forward by the MacEwan community.

Bad Cree offers a lot of visual imagery, with themes from horror to a bit of history,” says Diana Ton, initiatives planner and project manager. “The story allows us to reflect on where we come from and to really look into familial ties. The book weaves an appealing narrative of devotion, defeat, the intensity of greediness and the power of redemption in family.”

About the novelThe book cover of Bad Cree: a deep red background with three crows perched on a wire that stretches across the cover

Bad Cree follows Mackenzie, a millennial Cree woman, as she begins to have strange, vivid dreams in which she’s somehow able to bring objects back into the real world when she wakes up. The dreams, dealing with her real experiences from before her sister’s and Kokum’s deaths, start to bleed into her real life as odd and unsettling things begin to happen to her. Mackenzie returns to her small hometown in Alberta to enlist the help of her family in order to find out what’s haunting her before it’s too late.

Congratulations to the 2022/23 student contest winners

Each year, students are invited to enter their creative work or critical essay about the Book of the Year into a student contest. The winners and honourable mentions for Rivka Galchen’s novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch, are:

Creative Project/Design winners:

  • Susanna Woudstra (Bachelor of Design)
  • Charise Eryka Delson (Bachelor of Fine Arts – Music Theatre Performance)

Creative Writing winner: Michael Imrie (Bachelor of Arts)

Critical Essay winner: Damon Pelley (Bachelor of Arts)

Creative Project/Design honourable mentions:

  • Jennifer Onwudinjo (Bachelor of Design)
  • Connor Thomson (Bachelor of Design)
  • Aleesha Amjad (Bachelor of Fine Arts – Studio Arts)

Creative Writing honourable mentions:

  • Ashley Alton (Bachelor of Arts)
  • Jessalyn Leblanc (Bachelor of Arts)

Critical Essay honourable mention: Ella Kryzanowski (Bachelor of Commerce)

Watch for news about upcoming events and learn more about past Books of the Year at

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