UBC Creative Writing hires first tenure-track faculty member in graphic forms

Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Leavitt

The UBC School of Creative Writing welcomes cartoonist and educator Sarah Leavitt to its faculty as an assistant professor specializing in graphic forms. Leavitt is the School’s first tenure-track faculty member in this genre.

“UBC Creative Writing is unique in teaching graphic forms within the context of creative writing. Sarah Leavitt is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished comics artists in Canada, as well as a dedicated and inspiring teacher. We are so happy that she will bring her considerable expertise and energy to the School,” says Alix Ohlin, director of the UBC School of Creative Writing.

Leavitt is interested in autobiographical comics, formal experimentation in comics, and comics pedagogy. As an educator she develops strategies for teaching comics creation as well as exploring how comics creation shapes students’ work in other forms of writing.

Leavitt’s first book, Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me, was published in Canada and internationally. Tangles was the first comic to be nominated for a Writers’ Trust Award, and has become a widely-studied work in the growing field of comics and medicine.

“I’m so excited to deepen and expand the comics program here. Our students and alumni are already publishing wonderful comics and there are more fantastic projects in the works. I also love that students can take comics classes just as part of our cross-training approach — so they might not continue making comics afterwards, but they’re incorporating comics techniques and approaches into their poetry, screenplays or novels,” says Leavitt.

Leavitt has been developing and teaching comics classes in the UBC School of Creative Writing since 2012. She is also an instructor in the new Biomedical Visualization and Communication Certificate, a collaboration between the UBC Faculty of Medicine Hackspace for Innovation and Visualization in Education (HIVE) and the Centre for Digital Media.