Announcing the Winner of the 2023 Ian Lancashire Award for Student Promise, Megan Perram!

It is with great pleasure that we announce the winner of the 2023 Ian Lancashire Award for Student Promise! This year’s award recipient is Dr. Megan Perram (she/her), who successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta (shortly after Congress) and is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Alberta Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction. Her research centres the experiences of women and nonbinary individuals with hyperandrogenism by exploring innovative digital tools for writing illness narratives. 

Perram has most recently published on the topics of choice-based digital fiction for body image narrative therapy, illness narratives in virtual reality for bodies at the margins, and pedagogical approaches to interactive literary hypertext. Perram is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and was a recipient of the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction in 2021 and 2023. She has twice won the Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship, the Joan Shore Memorial Scholarship in Graduate Studies, and received the Government of Alberta’s Persons Case Scholarship in both 2017 and 2020.

Perram’s winning paper “Literary Hypertext as Illness Narrative for Women and Nonbinary Individuals with Hyperandrogenism” explores the potentials of illness narratives built through literary hypertext, and questions how women and nonbinary individuals with the endocrine disorder hyperandrogenism can use hypertext technology to write illness narratives that construct positive relationships between their bodies and the world. Perram’s paper demonstrates how literary hypertext technology can be used by participants to visually map and manually chart experiences through the practice of hyperlinking in order to create a structure perceived as best suited for therapeutic refection. The Lancashire Award evaluators noted in particular how Perram’s original and interdisciplinary project approached complex topics and addressed and overcame significant challenges, observing how Perram’s unique research background played into a compelling and highly professional presentation.

Thank you kindly to this year’s evaluators for their time and care! Are you interested in supporting CSDH/SCHN graduate students by reviewing for the Lancashire Award? Please inquire with Awards Chair Julia Polyck-O’Neill or any member of the executive committee!