David Leach

David Leach
Office: FIA 243

BA (UVic), MA (Queen's)

Area of expertise

Creative nonfiction, literary journalism, the nonfiction novel, adventure travel, ecological literacy, magazine publishing, teaching with technology, sports writing, memory and creative writing, interactive narrative, video games, digital storytelling, extended reality (XR) technologies and generative AI. Note: I am interested in recruiting MFA or Interdisciplinary graduate students in the fields of interactive narratives and digital storytelling.


David joined the faculty in 2004. Born in Winnipeg, he grew up in Ottawa and lived in Israel before studying creative writing and literature for a B.A. at the University of Victoria and graduating with an M.A. in English from Queen’s University, Kingston. He taught and freelanced in the Czech Republic, and then returned to Victoria, where he worked as a sessional instructor in the Department of English and as the City Life Editor at Monday Magazine. For three and a half years, he lived in Toronto and was the Managing Editor of explore: Canada’s Outdoor Magazine. He has published in Financial Post Magazine, British Columbia, Canadian Geographic, Island Parent, The Globe & Mail, and other newspapers and magazines. 

Selected professional & creative achievements

David's magazine writing and editing have been nominated for and won a number of regional and national awards, including a Canadian Society of Magazine Editors Award, a Western Magazine Award in arts and culture, a Northern Lights Award for Travel Writing, and a 2009 National Magazine Award in sports and recreation. His travel features have been republished in Germany, the U.K., the U.S., the Czech Republic, France and New Zealand. His first book, Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong, was released in 2008 by Penguin Canada and won the Special Jury Mention at the Banff International Mountain Book Festival. His second book, Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel, was published internationally by ECW Press in 2016 and earned nominations for a Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature and the Frank Hegyi Award. He was the co-host (with Deborah Campbell) of the Nonfiction Podcast.

As the Director of the Digital Storytelling & Social Simulation Lab, David has conducted research, given talks, organized conferences and done media interviews about the use of video games and interactive storytelling for art, ecological literacy and education. He is the co-creator of Kibbutz: The Settlers of Palestine — an online historical simulation to accompany his book Chasing Utopia. Most recently, he is a co-investigator with the Climate Disaster Project and a co-founder of the emerging Canadian Centre for eXtended Realities, a collaboration between the faculties of Fine Arts and Engineering & Computer Science.

Selected publications

Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel
Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong
Way Out There: The Best of explore, cover