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Stacey McLeod wins inaugural Master of Fine Arts Scholarship

October 23, 2018

Stacey McLeod is the winner of the Master of Fine Arts Scholarship, a new prize awarded to a second-year King’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction student to support research for their book project.

McLeod, a Toronto-based interactive journalist and editor who has worked for Global News, the Toronto Star and Travel & Escape Magazine, is researching For the Record: The Race to Live Forever in a Virtual Afterlife.

She describes her MFA book project as “part high-tech, part how-to.” For the Record is about the inspiring people racing to document and correct personal and community records in the digital era, and ways we can save these records and life stories before technology leaves a “memory hole” in history.

Award-winning journalist and nonfiction writer Mary Janigan — a supporter of the MFA program since its inception — and her husband, respected business leader Thomas Kierans, created the scholarship as a way to support students during the final year of the two-year MFA program.

McLeod will use the funds — $1,200 this year — to help underwrite major research in New York and Houston, Texas.

In New York, McLeod will meet with a web developer and digital obituaries editor at the New York Times, as well as with officials at the ARChive of Contemporary Music who are grappling with how to digitally archive one of the world’s largest physical collections of music records.

In Houston, she’ll meet with an official from The Harvey Memories Project, “a digital community archive started to assist in the recovery of memories after flooding from Hurricane Harvey destroyed library and museum archives as well as entire family archives.” She’ll also interview a former staffer at a Texas community newspaper that was “digitally archived just weeks before Harvey unexpectedly wiped out its entire physical archive.”

During her time in Houston, McLeod will also meet with officials of the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage program, which “finds, preserves and distributes written records of Hispanic culture in the United States from colonial times to the 1960s, making them available on the modern record” and will visit a special collections librarian at Rice University who is researching when and why people start thinking about their own legacy issues.

Janigan calls McLeod’s book project “fascinating. It opened up new fragilities in our world that I had never considered. I’m so glad the recipient will use this so wisely and so well.”

McLeod, who will graduate in May 2019, is represented by Hilary McMahon at Westwood Creative Agency.

For more information about — or to apply to — the King’s MFA program, visit our website or contact MFA Executive Director Kim Pittaway. Applications for the 2019-20 academic year are now open.