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Student with insatiable love for L.M. Montgomery readings is honoured by Avery Award

Michaela Wipond, left, reads the citation for honorary degree recipient and president emeritus Betsy Epperly at Convocation 2017. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Michaela Wipond, left, reads the citation for honorary degree recipient and president emeritus Betsy Epperly at Convocation 2017. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Third-year English major, Michaela Wipond of Calgary, Alta., has been named the inaugural winner of the Avery Award at UPEI.

In L.M. Montgomery’s beloved “Anne of Green Gables’’, the Avery Scholarship was an object of fierce competition between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe.

The Avery Award is a very real and new award at UPEI, established in appreciation of the legacy of Montgomery.

Wipond first fell in love with the writings of Montgomery as a lonely 11-year-old at summer camp when a copy of “Anne’’ became her closest companion. She spent the next six years devouring every title of P.E.I.’s most famous literary icon she could put her hands on. It was her love of Montgomery that brought her to UPEI.

“Moving across the country to a province I had never been to before was not an easy decision to make, but it was undoubtedly the right one,’’ Wipond wrote in her application essay. “I accomplished one of my dearest ambitions when, in the summer of 2016, I took English 333: L.M. Montgomery. I found inspiration, a mentor, and a kindred spirit in professor Deirdre Kessler.’’

The Avery Award comes with a $1,000 cash prize and an opportunity to work with mentor Melanie Fishbane, the social media co-ordinator and member of the management committee of the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI). She is also the author of the novel “Maud’’, inspired by the life of Montgomery. Fishbane will mentor Wipond in social media initiatives of the institute and held her connect with a passionate international community of scholars and readers.

“When I first met Michaela at the LMMI conference in 2016, I remember thinking how wonderful it was that we had a student at the conference, who had such passion and focus for Montgomery and her work,’’ Fishbane said. “Michaela is part of the next generation of scholars and it is imperative that the LMMI supports this any way it can.’’

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