Join us for our first Comics Speaker Series

Three cartoonists, an agent and a publisher! Come hear from engaging speakers at the centre of Canada’s comics world. Everyone is welcome, whether you’re a comics student or not.

Join us on Zoom for this special three session series. Open to all Creative Writing students, faculty, staff and alumni. No RSVP required.

October 18 at 1:00 pm
Making a career in comics

Johnnie Christmas, Marian Churchland and Steven Keewatin Sanderson share their career paths and take your questions.

Marian Churchland is a comic artist living in Vancouver, BC. Their graphic novel, Beast, won the Russ Manning award, and their most recent publication, The Hchom Book, concerns itself with deep and important matters, such as how many pies one person can hoard. Marian is a recent graduate of the UBC Creative Writing MFA Program. You can find more of their work at

Johnnie Christmas is a #1 New York Times Best Selling graphic novelist. Writer of the Image Comics sci-fi series TARTARUS and CREMA, a haunted romance published by Comixology. He’s currently hard at work on three new middle-grade graphic novels for the HarperAlley imprint of HarperCollins. His book FIREBUG, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and it earned him a Joe Shuster Outstanding Cartoonist nomination. He’s perhaps best known for co-creating the series ANGEL CATBIRD with celebrated writer Margaret Atwood and adapting William Gibson’s lost screenplay for ALIEN 3 into a critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. His credits also include co-creating the pre-apocalyptic thriller SHELTERED. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, earning a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration. Johnnie makes Vancouver, BC his home.

Steven Keewatin Sanderson, member of the James Smith Cree Nation. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He moved to Vancouver in 1999 to pursue a career in animation. He’s worked on such shows as Ed, Edd n’ Eddy, The Avengers, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Molly of Denali, Mighty Express and The Last Kids on Earth. Steve has also worked in the video games industry doing cut scenes, concept art and character design on the Disney video game Treasure Planet: Battle for Procyon, and currently works for The Coalition helping create a next gen XBOX game. In 2005, he was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to develop his first short animated film, Darkness Calls, a story of an Aboriginal youth struggling with suicidal thoughts. A successful graphic novel followed. Other graphic novels followed with subject matters such as children’s mental health, youth in foster care, staying in school and gang activity.

October 25 at 1:00 pm
Inside Drawn & Quarterly

Peggy Burns, publisher at Drawn & Quarterly, reveals what it’s like to work at one of the world’s leading publishers of indie comics.

Peggy Burns is the publisher of the Montreal-based graphic novel house and independent retailer Drawn & Quarterly. For over thirty years they have published the best in international cartooning including Adrian Tomine, Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Kate Beaton, Jillian Tamaki, Ebony Flowers, Guy Delisle and more. Previously, Burns lived in NYC where she directed publicity for DC Comics and MAD Magazine.

November 1 at 1:00 pm
A cartoonist’s agent

Samantha Haywood, president of Transatlantic Agency and specialist in comics, lets you know what an agent can do for a cartoonist.

Samantha Haywood is President of the Transatlantic Agency. She has extensive experience selling authors in North America for publication and TV/film representation. She launched her client list with Transatlantic Agency in 2004 after working in the international rights departments of Random House of Canada Ltd and WCA Ltd. Samantha represents a diverse and vibrant client list of novelists, memoirists, investigative journalists, graphic novelists, cookbook authors and thought leaders. Samantha represents international rights for the renown publisher, Drawn & Quarterly. She is also a founding member and former President of PACLA, the Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents.

The Comics Speaker Series is open to faculty, staff, students and alumni of the School of Creative Writing. Direct any questions to Sarah Leavitt, assistant professor, at