The Kitty’s Parents

Cute Overload has never failed me; it has been there whenever I needed help procrastinating, or a break from depressing political news. And now, it has alerted me to proof that I am right about The Kitty’s parents. For those of you who don’t know, The Kitty is a main character in my book Tangles, and I always suspected that she was the child of the Owl and the Pussycat. And see below: it is possible. If a cat and an owl can be close friends, could they not be more?

Here is the drawing from Tangles…

And here is the real-life support for my theory. What do you think?


Sarah shares a recipe on Writers Reading Recipes

What will Julie Wilson (aka Bookmadam) think of next? This was an unprecedented opportunity for me to read from the delightful cookbook published by the National Council of Jewish Women in 1974, a book that I have read with pleasure, even though I haven’t cooked from it. It is the kind of cooking that my mother called “goyishe” because it was not healthy and relied on a lot of Jello and mayonnaise, but which many Jews will recognize from their childhoods.

Writers Reading Recipes, episode 1

Sarah at Graphic Medicine Conference in Chicago!

This is going to be great! I’m going to Chicago for the second Graphic Medicine conference: COMICS & MEDICINE: The Sequential Art of Illness, June 9-11. First of all, I will finally meet the wonderful Brian Fies, who has been extremely kind and supportive since I first contacted him when my agent and I were shopping Tangles around. Cannot wait! And, hello, I get to go to a conference where Scott McCloud is a keynote speaker. Scott McCloud! And Phoebe Gloeckner! Anyway, I am going to deliver a paper (!) “Documenting a family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease: from sketchbook to graphic memoir,” and lead a workshop, “From diary to graphic narrative: finding the story in your personal experience.” It is all going to be ridiculously awesome. And check out the conference graphic, from Brian Fies’s book Mom’s Cancer.

Sarah at Non-Fiction Collective Conference, Banff, April 29-May 1

In just over a month I’ll be heading for beautiful Banff, where I haven’t been since the summer of 1977, when my mom and dad packed us all into our maroon station wagon and drove from Maine to Washington. Instead of going on a guided horseback ride and holding up the entire group by bursting into tears because my horse scared me, I will be delivering a workshop for my fellow non-fiction writers about graphic memoir. It might be a little less scary.

Image from

See the conference program on the Creative Non Fiction Collective website.

Spamics by Sarah: first try

For a while now I have been drawing illustrations for my favourite spam subject lines. Most of them I can’t really post here, because, well, I have not been sufficiently creative to stray far enough from the original intent of the spam — if you see what I mean. Basically, I just don’t want my website to be full of drawings of penises. But I thought I could post this one.

Drawing while watching TV

I’m slowly recovering from a week of yucky flu. Man, I watched a lot of TV this week! I felt like such a loser for not working on my art. So I brought my sketchbook to the couch last night in an effort to redeem myself.

First there was the classic Law and Order SVU… God, why do I watch this stuff?

Larissa, known as Brandy by the disgusting abuser:

And Daniel, victim turned abuser:

I don’t consider myself a Trekkie at all, but I super love Star Trek Voyager more than any other TV show ever… But they started putting it on so late that I couldn’t stay up to watch it anymore. But last night I did! And it was awesome. Bellana was in a bad situation.

Luckily they did not leave it up to Tuvok to resolve the situation… Those silly Vulcans!

Anyway, that’s my first attempt at doing something useful with couch time. Perhaps more to come.

Sarah Leavitt and Lynda Barry: animated!

My friend Terra Poirier took these photos at the Vancouver International Writers Festival in October, and Donimo added effects and animation. She says it proves that cartoonists are weird. I think I agree.  That was such a fun day! At some point I might stop talking about it, but don’t hold your breath.

My comics workshop for youth at Youthwrites

It was so great to be asked by the Vancouver International Writers Festival to lead their Youthwrites workshop this year. Each year, the VIWF runs a contest for all high school students in the Lower Mainland and then holds a workshop for the winners. These are the rules I made up for this year:

Submit a short story about a) a piece of clothing that was very important to you when you were a little kid, b) an unusual pet that belonged to you or someone you knew, or c) an important lesson you learned outside of school. The winners will transform their written pieces into one-page comics in a three-hour workshop with Sarah Leavitt, author and illustrator of Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me.

I had a great time with the winners. We talked about what comics are and how they work, and then they just got right into working on their stories — they got into that space where they’re writing and drawing with such concentration that it’s dead quiet and you can feel the energy coming off the pens and pencils. They all finished their stories in only four hours. Wow. I’m kind of jealous.

Read more on the VIWF website

Download the PDF of the booklet the youth made, Hamsters in Bathrooms