Exceptional student projects shine light on Book of the Year

May 2, 2016


Three students win the MacEwan University Book of the Year contest

Student work submitted to this year’s MacEwan University Book of the Year contest was so high calibre that the book committee named two creative category winners.

“After lengthy deliberations and careful consideration, we elected to divide the prize money into three $500 awards, one for a student essay, one for creative writing and one for art and design,” explains committee chair Paul Martin. “Even with three awards to give rather than two, we still struggled to make our final decisions. We were truly impressed by the talent of the MacEwan students who entered.”

Prizes awarded to the students were sponsored by the MacEwan University mstore and by the Faculty Development program. “You all did great work this year and we were honoured to have the chance to read and see so much of it,” says Paul.

Here’s what the committee had to say about the winning entries:


Winner: Tatiana Dutka, Bachelor of Science

“Tatiana Dutka’s ‘Intricate Fragments, Dynamic Romance and Love in Kim Thúy’s Mãn’ examines the dynamic intersecting of love, food, memory and cultural identity in Kim Thúy’s novel. Written for Daniel Martin’s English 103 course, Tatiana’s engaging essay draws upon carefully chosen passages from the novel and a key passage from Roland Barthes’ A Lovers’ Discourse to illustrate the degree to which love in the novel transcends the physical and emotional connection between two lovers. The essay details Mãn’s transformation over the course of the novel and the multidimensionality of her experience of love.”


Winner: Kate Lemke, Design Studies

(Pictured above) “Kate Lemke’s series of three posters created as an assignment for Constanza Pacher’s Design 330 course centre around the theme of breathing in Kim Thúy’s Mãn. As Kate writes in her description of her work, ‘[e]ach piece of the triptych conveys a different stage of exhaling through the integration of image and type. These stages reflect the psychological transformation of the main character, Mãn.’ The committee was impressed by the combination of evocative passages from the novel and the sensual imagery ‘cropped into segments to convey how Mãn does not immediately find her full self.’

“Particularly striking was Kate’s use of the French text ‘to capture the [theme of] culture and language’ in such a way that it appears to be ‘engraved into the skin to emphasize Mãn’s identity as an immigrant.’ While these images are memorable and engaging on their own, the insightful description of them by the designer helped the committee to understand the careful consideration that went into each design choice and how well Kate understood the novel.”


Winner: Nicole Bork, Bachelor of Communication Studies

“Nicole’s ‘Kind Fiction’ is a stunning work of creative non-fiction inspired in both tone and form by key elements of Kim Thúy’s Mãn. A first-person account of a daughter recovering from thyroid surgery while her mother convalesces from a serious but not fully explainable illness, ‘Kind Fiction’ is a compelling read marked by stark imagery and several breathtaking turns of phrase. Echoing Mãn’s form and structure, Nicole intersperses medical definitions throughout the text leaving the story both fragmented and enticing for the reader. The committee was deeply impressed by this piece and by the fact that it was written especially for the contest and not for a particular course.”

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