Sarah Leamy is the author of the award winning books, When No One’s Looking, Lucky Shot, and Lucky Find, as well as Van Life, a travelogue from exploring the Northwest with two dogs and a cat called Stephen. Her shorter work has been published in Los Angeles Review, Hunger Mountain, Santa Fe Writers Project, and others.
Photo: Eric Cousineau. c. 2019
Sarah is also a PhD research student at University of Birmingham, England, writing on Ambiguity: In Search of Androgynous Narratives. She presents at various colleges and conferences on writing from a gender-queer perspective. She is passionate about sharing the importance, the craft, validation and loves these conversations about representing outsider experiences through storytelling.
Sarah is the founder and managing editor of http://www.wanderlust-journal.com
She is the Editor-in-Chief of www.genderqueerliterature.org
2021/2021 Creative Writing Judge for the NM Arts Festival’s Veteran’s Writing Competition
Hidden, a fictionalised genderqueer narrative prose poem, is being published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. Preorders are currently available.
For a sample, please listen to this public reading with three poems from the chapbook. Read at VCFA, May 13, 2021. https://soundcloud.com/sleam-leamy/hidden-3-poems-from-the-new#t=1:05
G’Dog, a collection of flash fables inspired by Old European Folktales, is under contract for 2021. Details coming soon.
Various micro-essays/prose poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies over the years, most recently with Los Angeles Review, Immigrant Report, Passenger Journal, Dunes Review, Z Press Best Emerging Poets of New Mexico (2019), Devils Party Press (2019) as well as The People’s Apocalypse (2014). Sarah also writes book reviews and author interviews, found on Hunger Mountain, National Book Critics Circle, and Santa Fe Writer’s Project Quarterly. Upcoming publications include Ad Alta Journal in England, 2021.
Sarah has been a freelance writer for Rovers North and Classic Land Rover magazines with a specialty focus on profiling Series Land Rover owners.
Sarah was Assistant Non-fiction Editor for upstreet journal 2018-2020
Lucky Shot (2012) and When No One’s Looking (2016) won Best Gay Fiction in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Lucky Find was a finalist for the same award in 2014. Van Life won Best Non-fiction/ Grand Winner Award in the Great Northwest Book Contest of 2017 and was a finalist in the NM/AZ Book Awards 2018. Finishing Line Press is publishing Hidden, a chapbook in the form of a queer narrative prose poem in March 2021.
The following three books are currently looking for representation:
STAY is a hybrid visual story of a British tomboy & clown negotiating place/ identity, trauma/neurodiversity, gender roles, sexuality and violence. Works from this collection have been published in 2020 at Los Angeles Review, Immigrant Report, Passenger Journal, Dunes Review, Z Press Best Emerging Poets of New Mexico (2019). STAY was worked on with the help of Lidia Yuknavitch.
Passing Through is a short-story collection, dealing with addiction and the cost on individuals and communities, and the tension between locals and newcomers along the Rockies. Saved, a short story, was published by Devils Party Press. Since then, the manuscript was worked on with the help of Lidia Yuknavitch. Here is a video of Sarah reading from the manuscript. https://youtu.be/5J9VTAOdODk
Drifters, a novel, is set in London 1993 and is full of city shenanigans, drinking & dealing, music festivals, with six friends, their secrets, as each face life-changing/threatening choices. The manuscript was worked on with help from Connie May Fowler.
In other words, Sarah stays busy.
Current PhD research student in Creative Writing, University of Birmingham, UK. 2020-2024
MFA in Writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts, VT, 2017-19
Studied in workshops with Julianna Baggott, Connie May Fowler, Lidia Yuknavitch, Matthew Dickman, Jessica Hendry Nelson, Hasanthika Siresena, Sean Prentiss, Steve Almond, and others.
Professional Clown, Clown Conservatory, Circus Center, San Francisco, 2006-7
Photography – Documentary, Pimlico Arts and Media Centre, London, 1991-3
BA German and Geography, Queen Mary College, London University, 1985-89.
MFA Merit Scholarship, 2019
AWP Writer to Writer Program as a Mentor, 2018
Van Life, a travel memoir, is finalist in the NM/AZ Book Awards, 2018
MFA Merit Scholarship, 2018
Director’s Award, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 2017
Writing by Writers Scholarship- Finalist, 2018
Vermont Book Award Fellowship, 2017/8
Postgraduate Writer’s Conference Scholarship, 2018
Van Life is named Grand Winner/ Best Nonfiction, Great Northwest Book Contest, 2017
When No-one’s Looking named Best Gay Fiction NM/AZ Book Awards, 2016
Lucky Find finalist in Best Gay Fiction NM/AZ Book Awards, 2014
Lucky Shot named Best Gay Fiction NM/AZ Book Awards, 2012
Vermont College of Fine Arts, Alumnx Reading Series. Excerpts from Hidden. December 2020
Virginia Piper Writing Center, Queer Flash Generative Writing Workshop. ASU. November 2020
Devils Party Press, Saved, a short story from anthology. May 2019
Grad Lecture. Lesson from Clown School (Or, How is studying to be a clown like studying to be a writer?). July 2019
South Dakota University, Excerpt from Passing Through. John Milton Writer’s Conference, October 2018.
VCFA, Grad Lecture. A Conversation. Summer 2018.
VCFA, Poetry Jazz Performance, Postgraduate Writer’s Conference, August 2018
Spoken Word/Performance, Montpelier, VT. July 2018
VCFA, MFA Graduation Reading Series. Prose Poetry, Montpelier, VT. June 2018
VCFA Reading Series. Short Stories, Montpelier, VT. May 2018.
Flash Fiction/ Prose Poetry, VCFA, Montpelier, VT. December 2018
Many more over the years, listed in the resume somewhere…
Hungry Dogs, Somebody Needs Me, Immigrant, & First Dates (Reading at VCFA, July 2019)
On Regret (VCFA, 2018)
I don’t Talk About (VCFA, January 2019)
Old but good: https://youtu.be/owVOt6dVHw0
Links to Soundcloud Recordings: https://soundcloud.com/sleam-leamy
Link to Sarah reading from Lucky Shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEm0VnRo4_M
As MC for a variety show in Madrid, NM. https://youtu.be/Yd5dgNM8PIU
As Mabel, Madrid, NM. https://youtu.be/GG_Z4UvMPTo
Clown Conservatory 2007: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLXoZLyC2wM
On KRQE Television’s talk show: https://youtu.be/_ogQT869Blc
Youtube channel with odds and ends: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIuAjFeAY2RKFzrRGJ5SlYg
Sarah is a regular contributor for Rovers North, Classic Land Rover, Santa Fe Writer’s Project, and Hunger Mountain.
Nonfiction Books: Art, Cartoons, Photography Shows
- Before Coffee II. Comic book. 2018
- Before Coffee I. Art Show, Plainfield, VT. 2017
- Not My Dog. Metallo Minatures Show. Madrid, NM. 2017
- Before Coffee I. Comic book. 2017
- Photography and mixed media shows, London UK. 1993
- Photography and mixed media, Madison, WI. 1993
- Photography and mixed media, Santa Fe Pride, Santa Fe NM. 1997
- Photography and mixed media, Queer Festival, Albuquerque, NM. 1998
- Photography, Community Space, East London, UK. 1999
- Before Coffee/ Living the Dream, Cerrillos Station, NM, June 2017
- Van Life: Cerrillos Station, NM, April 2017
- Van Life: NW Contest Awards, LA. April 2017
- Bring A Chainsaw: Cerrillos Station, NM January 2017
- Living the Dream: Taos, NM 2015
- Living the Dream: KBAC RADIO 2015
- Living the Dream, Santa Fe, NM 2015
- Lucky Shot: Taos, NM 2012
- Lucky Shot: Collected Works, Santa Fe, NM 2012
- Lucky Shot: Santa Fe, NM 2012
- Lucky Shot: Backroad, Santa Fe, NM 2012
- Lucky Shot: Albuquerque, NM 2012
- Lucky Shot: Las Cruces, NM 2012
- Lucky Shot: KASA- TV 2012
- Lucky Shot: KOB-TV 2012
- Lucky Shot: KSFR RADIO 2012
- Lucky Shot: KUNM RADIO 2012
COMMUNITY PROJECTS/ PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCES:
- Clowning Around Project, Santa Fe, NM. 1999- 2010: Teaching clowning skills, juggling, acrobatics, all ages. Monthly
- Madrid Volunteer Fire District, NM. 2011. Wildland firefighter trainee
- Engine House Theatre, Madrid, NM 2008- 2014: Stage manager, Producer, Performer, Publicist as needed
- Madrid Cultural Projects, NM 2008: Producer, publicist, co-ordintator of annual Gypsy Festival
- Madrid Cultural Projects, NM 2008: Producer, publicist, co-ordintator of Blues Music Festival
- Santa Fe Community Theater, NM 2001-3: Shakespeare, melodramas, and Agatha Christie
- MC for various fundraisers and shows: Santa Fe, NM 2000- 2015
- Vaudeville 101: Produced, wrote, and performed a solo show, Santa Fe, Madrid, Albuquerque and Las Cruces, NM 2009
- Circus School: Produced, wrote, and performed in monthly clown shows, San Francisco, Sept 2007-May 2008
- Undercurrents: Solo monologues show. Performed, wrote, and produced, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, NM, 1999
- Hunger Mountain Review, VT, 2017 – ongoing
- Upstreet Journal, MA, 2017 – ongoing
- Wanderlust Journal, VT, 2017 – ongoing
- New Mexico Small Business Development Center, NM, 2017
- Savoy Theater, Montpelier, VT 2017
- Theater of Death Production, Madrid, NM 2017
- Joe West Music, The Midwest, 2017
- Theater of Death, Madrid, NM: Sept-Oct 2016
- Theater of Death, Madrid, NM: Sept – Oct 2015
- Theater of Death, Madrid, NM: Sept – Oct 2014
- Engine House Theater, NM: 2008-2010
VAN LIFE: EXPLORING THE NORTHWEST
2018 Finalist in NM/AZ Book Awards.
2017 Grand Winner/ Best Non-fiction in the Great Northwest Book Contest.
The housesitter backed out only days before the planned departure so Little Stevie, the cat, would be coming with them after all. Three months, two dogs and one cat: What could go wrong?
With her two friendly pups, Harold and Rosie, and a somewhat feral cat, Sarah explored the Northwest in the summer of 2016. Passing through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington. and Oregon, this odd family meandered down little used back roads, camping by rivers, lakes and on the Pacific ocean beaches. They stumbled across many a rural village, cafes, and microbreweries, chatting to the locals along the way.
Sarah’s writing reminds us of Blue Highways, Bill Bryson and with a touch of The Tao Of Pooh.
198 pp. $12.50
Best Gay Fiction in NM/AZ Book Awards 2012. Re-published 2016.
The Right to Die: who decides? Could you make that choice for another? Would you? Or is it up to the politicians? The doctors? The religious right(eous)? Or can we make these hard decisions for ourselves? When your loved one is critically damaged, do you have it in you to end a life?
Eye-Opening Novel Asks: Can Life (and Death) Be Captured in a Photo?
A photographer’s lens can capture many things. In the novel Lucky Shot: a Novel of Sex, Death, and Photography, the photographer in question is Lucky, whose life becomes a snapshot on an extended journey of self-discovery, from the time when Lucky runs away from the pain of those hospital visits and towards something else. But it’s not easy, none of it, the traveling, the new relationships, nor the memories haunting both days and nights.
KIRKUS: Readers who enjoy vulnerable, flawed characters will find themselves engaged by Lucky’s courageous attempts to leave the past behind. [… R]eaders will ultimately be inspired.
215 pp. $12.50
Published 2014. Blue Mesa Books, NM. Finalist in the NM/AZ Book Awards 2014.
LUCKY FIND is set in New Mexico and Arizona. Leamy evokes the atmosphere, landscape, and life in the Southwest in her novel about family and friendships within a road trip through southern New Mexico and into Bisbee, Arizona, up to Flagstaff and back home to Santa Fe. The novel opens, as any good novel does, with a cliffhanger that leaves the reader wanting to know more about Lucky’s circumstances:
“This is going to hurt.”
“Not as much as it did to kill my dad.”
Dr. Fletcher almost drops the needle in his hand and stares at me. I smile.
“Joking. Well, not really. But what were you saying?” I smile again, trying to reassure him. I’m not sure of what.
Lucky takes a journey of self-discovery with Mike, a friend from childhood, and a collie named Blue. They end up in Arizona chasing down clues to find Lucky’s recently discovered half-sister and the two find so much more than they’d expected in some of the most beautiful places in the Southwest.
WHEN NO ONE’S LOOKING
Best Gay Fiction in NM/AZ Book Awards 2016.
“When No One’s Looking makes me homesick for the simple, hardscrabble, poetic life that unfolds daily in the Ortiz Mountains of New Mexico — and for the raw, fearless emotions and journeys of its people, as brought to life in Sarah Leamy’s protagonist Joey. It’s a story about the outer and inner landscapes that lead to love, to hate, and ultimately to wisdom.” Carol Carpenter, playwright.
An engagingly written novel that spans six countries and over 40 years, the story centers on an obsessive pair of lovers who cannot stay away from each other. Joey and Kat have had a messy relationship dating back to 1967. We follow their mis-adventures from a small town in New Mexico, to Central America, Spain, Russia, the United Kingdom, and back to New Mexico. Looking back over the years, Joey reminisces with best friend, Paula on what could have been, while planning a final gathering of friends and family.
Published 2016. CSP.
New Mexico is home for her although she also has a deep connection with the Vermont Writing Community, VCFA and the Corporeal Writing Center in Portland, Oregon.
Headshot/Featured Photo Credit: Eric Cousineau Fine Art Photography. c. 2019.