Nico Mara-McKay (June 2023)

Nico Mara-McKay

Historian, writer, and editor

My name is Nico Mara-McKay (they/them) and I am a historian, writer, and editor.

tl;dr: Links to my portfolio and curriculum vitae. You can also find me on academia.edu, Bluesky, and LinkedIn, or reach me via my contact form.

Academic work

For the past three years I have been a SSHRC-funded PhD student at the University of Toronto in History with a collaborative specialization in Sexual Diversity Studies. However, I am taking a yearlong leave of absence from the program in order to try to find permanent employment outside of academia.

My research focuses on nonnormative gender expressions in late Medieval Europe and the emerging field of Medieval Trans Studies, for which I created an extensive bibliography. I love the work that I did, but with fewer than 10% of history PhD graduates finding tenure-track positions and the decline of positions for medieval historians, I am looking for new opportunities to make use of the skills I have developed. You can find me on academia.edu, or for a more complete list of my presentations and academic publications, see my curriculum vitae.

Bibliography of Medieval Trans Studies

In 2021, I created A Bibliography of Medieval Trans Studies from the foundations of my personal library, as well as a number of excellent lists and websites, including Lucy Allen’s “A ‘Queer Medieval’ Reading List,” Gabrielle Bychowski’s website Transliterature: Things Transform, Eileen Joy’s working bibliography for Seminar in Medieval Literature: Medieval Sex, and Rictor Norton’s Bibliography of Gay and Lesbian History, particularly the section “Medieval History.”

This bibliography has since been added to by numerous academics and community members, both named and anonymous, and I thank them for their continued efforts. I know this bibliography has been shared at conferences, in classrooms, and serves a starting point for folks interested in learning more about premodern trans studies. There’s so much excellent work being done in this subfield, and I encourage everyone to continue to use and share these resources.

Ephemeral Record: Creating Trans and Queer Histories

In 2023, I started Ephemeral Record, a Patreon that builds on my academic work and lived experience in order to share trans and queer histories in an accessible way. Recent posts have looked at the evolving way historians categorize nonnormative genders, a 14th-century English trans sex worker, and the history of a queer institution in Toronto, Canada.

The Patreon is free to subscribe, but there will be occasional articles that will be paywalled, as this is a source of income for me.

Writing and editing

I have been writing and editing professionally since 2010, and in that time I have copyedited print and digital magazines, managed freelancers, assessed pitches, assigned stories, scheduled content, and developed an in-house style guide and lexicon for two magazines.

My written work has  appeared in the Journal of HistoryArt/iculation MagazineBroken Pencil Magazine, Quill & QuireThis Magazine, among other placesFor more, see my select publication history.

As an editor, I use my education, experience, and expertise to address copyediting issues like spelling, grammar, and syntax, as well as substantive issues like content, clarity, and flow. For more, see my select portfolio.


I love giving talks, and I’ve spoken at the Art Gallery of Ontario about the visual history of tarot, Canzine about the history of magical zines, and for the Toronto District School Board about witchy artifacts.

I’ve spoken at and chaired panels at a number of academic conferences, including the American Historical Association, the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Medieval Association, Moving Trans Histories Forward, among others. I have guest lectured on early modern print history, gender and sexuality in early modern Europe, and early modern European witchcraft. For a select list of my academic appearances, please see my curriculum vitae.

Interested in working together? Please get in touch.

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