In January, the University of Michigan awarded nine prizes totaling $12,600 in the Avery and Jule Hopwood Underclassmen Contest, as well as eleven prizes totaling $9,150 in other creative writing contests administered by the Hopwood Awards Program. The Hopwood Awards are the oldest and most prestigious college writing prizes in the country. The awards are supported through a bequest from Avery Hopwood, a 1905 University of Michigan graduate who was the most commercially successful Broadway playwright of the 1920s, and Jule Hopwood, his mother.
Academy alumna Emily Pittinos was awarded five prizes totaling $8,600 for submissions in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She was also awarded the Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship. When asked about Pittinos’ four years at the Academy, Mika Perrine, director of creative writing at Interlochen Center for the Arts, stated, “Emily was an absolute joy to teach because she was so eager to challenge herself and so versatile. It is rare to find a young writer who can move so easily from genre to genre, writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction with a similarly assured, carefully honed voice. Her work is often evocative of place, and she writes beautifully of both the isolation and allure of growing up in rural northwestern Michigan.”
Pittinos is a University of Michigan sophomore double-majoring in women’s studies and arts and ideas in the humanities, with a minor in writing. Much like the Academy’s comparative arts major, arts and ideas is an interdisciplinary program designed to explore other art forms and study art within a cultural context. “It’s so nice to be recognized for my writing on a collegiate level, but now I’m just trying to balance my many interests and develop my poetic voice,” said Pittinos. She hopes to someday pursue a Master of Fine Arts program and see her work in print, adding, “I’m sure I’ll continue to write as long as I breathe.”