Award-winning author Souvankham Thammavongsa. Photo by Sarah Bodri.

MacEwan University announces its next Book of the Year

May 3, 2021 | Arts & Culture, Campus Life

MacEwan University is pleased to announce that its 2021/22 MacEwan Book of the Year is How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa.

The MacEwan Book of the Year is an annual interdisciplinary celebration of a work of Canadian literature that reaches into classrooms across the university. Students and faculty members are invited to explore the book and its messages through workshops, author readings, a student contest and classroom visits with the author.

"This year's choice interweaves concepts such as inclusion and identity with sensitivity and humour that would appeal to both instructors and students alike," says Shelley Josey, chair of the Book of the Year committee and interdisciplinary events administrator, Office of Teaching and Learning Services.

How to Pronounce Knife is the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and details the stories of several immigrant people struggling to find their bearings far from home, even as they do the "grunt work of the world." Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance and above all, their pursuit of a place to belong.

Congratulations to the 2020/21 student contest winners

As part of the MacEwan Book of the Year proceedings, students are invited to submit their creative work or critical essay to the annual student contest. Inspired by Iain Reid's Foe, the 2020/21 Book of the Year, this year's winners and honourable mention are:

"Thank you to all of the students who shared their work with us," says Josey. "The contest judges continue to be impressed and inspired by the talented work that is submitted, and we can't wait to see what students will come up with when they begin studying How to Pronounce Knife."

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

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