Gabrielle Lesage

Gabrielle Lesage

Chasing Jane Austen

Gabrielle Lesage

Gabrielle Lesage was introduced to the B.E.S.T. Projects Fund at a time where she discovered her life’s passion.

Gabrielle enrolled at Bishop’s University with the intention of becoming a counsellor. She took a Major in Psychology and a Minor in English. But when one of her friends received funds from B.E.S.T., her curiosity was piqued.

“My friend was also in psychology, and B.E.S.T. looked like such a great opportunity,” she remembers. “A year passed and then I wondered if there was a project I could submit to the selection committee.”

At the time, Gabrielle’s love for literature, especially Jane Austen’s, was blossoming. She felt she had to pursue her passion for all things Austen, and luckily got accepted into the program.

The Laval native is thrilled to be heading to King’s College in London, England to participate in “Jane Austen’s England”, a 3-week course focused exclusively on the British literary sensation.

Gabrielle will study a wide range of topics, from the Regency period to the interpretations of Austen’s work in film.

“I’m really excited to deepen my expertise of Austen’s work and its impact on literature and culture at large,” Gabrielle says. “The course includes lectures and seminars, but I’ll also be trekking off the King’s College campus to discover key Austen locations like Bath and Alton, her hometown.” The Austen fan will also be screening films of the author’s six major novels, and will have access to a trove of original resources at the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and more.

Over time, Gabrielle has seen a link between her passion for the author and her love of psychology.

“Austen was fascinated by people, and a great observer of human behavior,” she points out. “I’ve always been fascinated with people, how they are and how they think. In this way, I feel connected to her.”

A self-proclaimed introvert, Gabrielle is hoping that the trip to London will help her climb out of her shell and build her confidence. She’s also hoping to bring back her newfound experience and knowledge to help the English department organize an important upcoming event during the 2016-17 academic year.

“I’m part of a group that is planning a symposium to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. I’m confident that my travels will help the group plan a very special event in her honour,” she says.

“I want to thank the B.E.S.T. selection committee for giving me this amazing opportunity. It’s a dream come true! I’ll be making connections and representing Bishop’s on the international stage. I never imagined myself doing this!”

To read more about Gabrielle’s adventures, check out her blog: