Author Iain Reid

University announces "philosophical suspense" story as the Book of the Year for 2020/21

August 24, 2020 | Arts & Culture, Campus Life

MacEwan University is excited to announce that the MacEwan Book of the Year for 2020/21 is Iain Reid's Foe.

The novel was selected because in addition to its potential to generate interest and discussion in classrooms across the university, the MacEwan Book of the Year committee has no doubt it will grip students and faculty members, and provide a much-needed and invigorating distraction during these unexpected times.

Described by the publisher as a "philosophical suspense" story, Foe centres on quiet married couple Junior and Hen. When a stranger arrives one day, Junior learns he has been randomly selected to travel far from their farm — and arrangements have been made to ensure that when he leaves, Hen won't miss him at all because she will have some familiar company.

"I'm honoured and grateful that Foe has been selected as the MacEwan Book of the Year and am looking forward to the year ahead," says Reid, whose earlier book, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, has been adapted into a film by director/screenwriter Charlie Kaufman for Netflix.

Each year, the MacEwan Book of the Year celebrates a contemporary work of Canadian literature and its author. The book is taught in classes across the university, often involves discussions with the author and is featured in a student essay/creative writing/creative project contest.

In past years, the university has celebrated the book with a visit from the author. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year's events have been reframed to include podcasts and virtual classroom visits as a way for students to get a closer look at Foe and engage with Reid.

2019/20 student contest winner shows how connection with nature can help heal trauma experienced by colonization

In addition to announcing the new book, the Book of the Year committee would also like to congratulate the winner of the 2019/20 student contest.

Bachelor of Design student Melaina Goos won for her creative submission, which she developed as part of her work in the DESN330 Typography II course. As part of the course, Melaina and her classmates read This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and wrote down parts of the author's stories, poems and songs that stood out to each of them. After an in-class discussion about their findings, Melaina used the words that she connected with to create a cohesive series of quotes that fit together and told a story.

The Book of the Year committee, which selects the winning student work, said, "Melaina's work stood out for its combination of depth of concept and execution. Her poster series symbolizes reflection and the healing process of Anishinaabe people. Using the landscape as a subject to show how connection with nature can help heal trauma experienced by colonization, Melaina arrived at a poetic and subtle solution, yet communicated her message in a strong voice."


"As a Métis reading the book, I could empathize with the author's emotions, stories and words," says Melaina. "Her emotions and words provided the reader with the experiences of Indigenous peoples today and the effects of colonization. Her short stories, songs, and poems included a variety of tones from anger and sadness, to humour, love and healing."

Melaina adds that she interpreted Simpson's stories as a means of reflection and healing, sharing feelings through intimate stories, and that the book is a reclamation of culture and identity through empowerment and resilience.

"This Accident of Being Lost is a beautifully written book that provides insight into the emotions connected to the experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada," says Melaina. "The stories, poems and songs give the reader the ability to experience Anishinaabe culture and creates a real connection to promote conversation about truth and reconciliation."


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