Students discover a little bit of Newfoundland in the heart of Edmonton

March 18, 2019 | Arts & Culture

This week MacEwan University celebrates Sweetland, chosen as the MacEwan University Book of the Year. As part of the celebration, the university welcomes Michael Crummey, renowned Newfoundland author.

First published in 2014, Sweetland tells the story of the inhabitants of a remote island in Newfoundland who have been offered a generous compensation package to leave the island for good.

There’s only one catch: everyone must go. Gradually, all the residents decide to accept the compensation package to leave the island, except Moses Sweetland. Motivated in part by a sense of history and belonging, Sweetland concocts a scheme to remain the island’s only living resident. Cut off from the outside world, with his food supply diminishing, Sweetland finds himself in the company of ghosts.

Students in English courses throughout the university have been reading the book, immersed in the picture that Michael paints of his home province. It is the first time that the Book of the Year program has recognized an author from Newfoundland and Labrador.

“I was kind of stunned to hear that Sweetland had been chosen as MacEwan’s Book of the Year,” says Michael. “I’m looking forward to hearing what the folks at MacEwan make of the story.”


Michael’s top 10 books about Newfoundland

Check out Michael Crummey’s EPL Picks list of seminal books about Newfoundland, including the Dictionary of Newfoundland English and Death on the Ice.

Michael is on campus this week to have a deeper discussion about Sweetland, and help demystify the writing process. He will discuss the book with students, staff and faculty at a series of activities, including classroom visits, workshops and a special onstage Q&A and reading on March 21.

“This is a unique opportunity to meet and have a discussion with the author,” says Shelley Josey, chair of the MacEwan Book of the Year committee. “Budding writers can engage in a dialogue with the author in an exclusive way that is rare in a classroom setting.”

You could win $750

Students who read Sweetland during the 2018/19 academic year (for fun or for credit) can submit a creative work or critical essay inspired by the book for a chance to win $750.



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