Sarah Leavitt Dot ComTangles
Tangles Readings & Festivals

Talking About Jewish Women and Comics

Last week I went to New York City for a few days. In between eating (Stinky Brooklyn, Shelsky’s Smoked Fish, Eataly — oy vey!) and visiting my lovely American family, I managed to get to this great symposium where I’d been invited to talk about Tangles: Talking About Jewish Women and Comics. What a thrill to see Diane Noomin and Miriam Katin in person and hear them talk about their work! Not to mention the Graphic Details exhibit that was the basis for the symposium — original artwork by Noomin, Katin, Trina Robbins, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Corinne Pearlman and more… sigh. Felt like a fan girl — albeit one with grey hair creeping in and smoked fish breath.

These are some drawings I did of the speakers — Noomin, Katin and unnamed academics.

In conversation with Nicola Streeten at Orbital Comics: podcast with pictures

Orbital Comics, LondonMy last event in England was a conversation with Nicola Streeten at Orbital Comics in the West End… The store is awesome, especially the side room full of small press comics and graphic novels where we did our presentation. Thanks to the lovely Camila at Orbital for posting a podcast that includes our slideshow! Watch it below or download the podcast and open it with iTunes or QuickTime to see the accompanying images. Thanks to Paul Gravett, Corinne Pearlman and Camila for making the event happen. And thanks to Donimo, my saviour, for procuring enough cold medication to enable me to hold myself upright and be semi-coherent. (In case you wonder while you’re listening to the podcast, I’m not crying, just congested.)

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Nicola wrote/drew Billy, Me & You, and is also co-creator of Laydeez do Comics. So amazing that I got to meet her and talk to her! And even make fun of her silly version of a Canadian accent. Long live traumatic autobiographical comics by Laydeez!

Donimo captured us being serious artists and total dorks…










Sarah goes to Toronto, Kingston, Montreal

Aargh, I am so bad at keeping a regular blog. I mean, not that it has ever been my intention to blog daily or weekly or anything, but this is a bit ridiculous. ALSO, there are things I want to tell you. So here it is, how I spent my summer vacation, part 2 of 3.

After that amazing Graphic Medicine conference in Chicago (that was summer vacation part 1), I came home for a little bit and then went to Toronto, Kingston and Montreal…

In Toronto, Julie Wilson hosted a conversation with me and Andrew Westoll at Ben McNally Books called “You Think You Know Me But You Have No Idea.” Andrew and I read from our work and talked about what it’s like to publish memoir, how the portrayal of yourself in your book is different from the Real You. The title of the event sounds a bit hostile, but really it didn’t turn out that way. Check out reports on the panel from Canadian Bookshelf and The Toronto Quarterly. Highlights of the evening included meeting the incredible Julie Wilson in person for the first time, and my agent Samantha Haywood, too! (Get a sense of Sam’s passion for publishing in this great interview on Open Book Toronto.) Andrew Westoll and I have written very different books but we think along the same lines when it comes to shaping narrative from life experience.

Julie Wilson, me, Andrew Westoll at Ben McNally Books, Toronto
Julie Wilson, me, Andrew Westoll: all of us are much more dynamic and smiley in person. 

In Kingston, the wonderful essayist and lovely friend Susan Olding and I did a version of the same event at the tiny Novel Idea Bookstore, and managed to cram an attentive (and patient) audience into the narrow spaces between immovable bookshelves and we stacked books and small tables creatively to make a perfect stand for the projector. I love doing readings in little bookstores where you have to figure out how to make everything work with the space you have — there is always someone in the crowd with good spatial sense and/or expertise with projectors and the experience of setting everything up together creates a sweet atmosphere for reading and talking and answering questions. Highlights included seeing the wonderful art and writing that Susan’s young daughter Maia has been creating, and being in the city where Alias Grace was set. I just read Alias Grace this spring and am somewhat haunted by Grace Marks and her murdering ways.

Last but not least, I took the train to Montreal (broken air conditioning on the train + worst day of heat wave = completely hideous arrival in the most aggressively stylish city in Canada, but oh well). There I did a reading at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse with a small but extremely smart audience who asked great questions and took me out for Ethiopian food. I lived in Montreal in the late 80s and early 90s. Things are different but that electric, crackling energy that I remember is the same (that energy that made me think the people in Vancouver were in a coma or something when I first moved here). My favourite night included walking by a park where Judas Priest videos were playing on a large screen, continuing on through the dancing crowds of the Nuits d’Afrique festival, and then running back to my hotel through a wild thunderstorm.

You can read a bit about my reading on the wonderful blog, She Reads and Reads, and I had a coffee in Old Montreal with Ian McGillis, who wrote a lovely review of Tangles back in December. You can read his interview with me on the Montreal Gazette blog. I also met up with my dad in Montreal!

We went to the D&Q bookstore! And found Tangles on the shelf! I bought Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning and Hilary Chute’s Graphic Women and a bunch of mini-comics from the awesome Life and Times of Butch Dykes series. And more! Until I regained a semblance of self-control and frugality.

Sarah visits D&Q!

Montreal + summer + comics = HAPPY


Tangles on the shelf at D&Q!

Tangles on the shelf at D&Q!

Oh, were you wondering what my cute dad looks like? Well here he is!

My dad with our Montreal breakfast extraordinaire

My dad with our Montreal breakfast extraordinaire

Posted Sep 17, 2011 | Category: Comics & Writing, Tangles Readings & Festivals | Comments Off

More Tangles love in the Montreal Gazette

Thanks to Ian McGillis for the promo for my Montreal reading this coming Thursday at The Yellow Door Coffeehouse, 3625 Aylmer, on Thursday, July 21 at 6pm. Admission is free….

Ian wrote a great review of Tangles in December, as he notes below. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to put as much stock in words like this as I do in rejection letters that say I can’t draw, but oh well. :)

The first work of Canadian graphic literature to be short-listed for a major mainstream prize (the Writer’s Trust of Canada Non-fiction Prize), Tangles is exactly what its subtitle says it is. I reviewed it in The Gazette last winter. (Here’s a link.) The review was a rave and I stand by every word; if anything the book has grown in my estimation, rooting itself in my memory where many books I’ve read in the interim are already gone. Its greatest strength is its tacit acknowledgement that subject like Alzheimer’s, if it’s going to be tackled at all, is best dealt with head-on. Leavitt spares nothing of her mother’s suffering, nor of her own complicated response and handling of it, and in so doing does all who have been and will be involved in such struggles a great service. It’s not hard to imagine that things could get emotional at a reading from such a book, so bring a few tissues.



Posted Jul 16, 2011 | Category: Tangles, Tangles News & Reviews, Tangles Readings & Festivals | Comments Off

Tangles comes to Toronto, Kingston and Montreal

Whirlwind tour coming up! Excited!

  • July 19: You Think You Know Me, But You Have No Idea, with Andrew Westoll, Stacey May Fowles and Julie Wilson, Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto
  • July 20: You Think You Know Me, But You Have No Idea (Take Two), with Susan Olding, 6 pm at Novel Idea, 156 Princess Street, Kingston
  • July 21:  Tangles Book Launch and Reception, 6 pm at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse, 3625 Aylmer Street, Montreal


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