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. 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.
Photo: Eric Cousineau 2019
Sarah is the Founder and Managing Editor of the literary travel essay journal www.wanderlust-journal.com.
Current Projects include:
STAY is a hybrid visual story of a British tomboy & clown negotiating place/ identity, trauma/neurodiversity, gender roles, sexuality and violence.
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. 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.
Hidden, a fictionalised genderqueer narrative prose poem, is being published by Finishing Line Press in 2021.
She is also a freelance writer for Rovers North and Classic Land Rover magazines with a specialty focus on profiling Series Land Rover owners. Sarah is on the editorial team for upstreet journal.
Various essays have been in literary journals and anthologies over the years, most recently with the Los Angeles Review, Dunes Review, Z Press Best Emerging Poets of New Mexico (2019), Devils Party Press (2019) as well as Ariel Gore’s 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.
In other words, she’s busy.
PhD in Creative Writing, University of Birmingham, UK. 2020-
MFA in Writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts, VT, 2017-19.
Studied in workshops with Steve Almond, Julianna Baggott, Connie May Fowler, Matthew Dickman, Jessica Hendry Nelson, Hasanthika Siresena, Sean Prentiss, 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 2018 NM/AZ Book Awards
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
Teaching/ Readings: 2018/9
South Dakota University, Reading Flash Fiction at the John Milton Writer’s Conference, October 2018.
Vermont College of Fine Arts, Grad lecture on Ambiguity as a Narrative Tool. (Challenging gender roles.) Summer 2018.
Poetry Jazz Performance, Postgraduate Writer’s Conference, August 2018
Stand-Up Comedy/ Poetry Performance, Montpelier, VT, July 2018
Prose Poetry, Montpelier, VT, June 2018
Short Stories, VCFA, Montpelier, May 2018.
Flash Fiction/ Prose Poetry, VCFA, Montpelier, 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
2018 Recent publications:
Sarah is a regular contributor for Rovers North, Classic Land Rover, Santa Fe Writer’s Project, and Hunger Mountain. Here are a few links to shorts stories and reviews published in various anthologies and online.
INTERVIEW: Albuquerque, NM. 2014.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid at middle school, winning a book for my journal on a mountaineering trip we’d taken in Wales. I make sense of my world and experiences through words on paper. I create new lives, and explore darker emotions than possible in my daily life. As a queer immigrant writer, I come with many stories and a variety of characters, all wanting to be heard. I’ve lived in Europe, the Southwest, and Guatemala. I currently live in Vermont.
What are your future plans?
To finish my MFA in Writing and Publishing with a collection of short stories to tour, as well as finish the next novel. I’d like to take my work across the States, talking about the craft of writing, finding inspiration, and how to live a writer’s life.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Worcestershire, England, spending much of my time on my Gran’s farm nearby, where generations of my family have lived and worked. Then to the States in my twenties.
Why do you write?
I write because I have to. If I spend too many days without putting words on paper, I lose my enthusiasm for life, I withdraw. I need to create. Writing is one facet of all that I do.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
As a kid, I wanted to write and be read. Writing is a need. Being read was the hope.
Do you ever have problems with writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I have phases when I write, others when I am creating a new show for myself, or am focused on producing variety fundraisers for people in my village. I don’t worry if the words don’t come. There is always a creative outpouring.
What research did you do for the book, if any?
Falling in love with someone I knew would betray me.
- Van Life (2016): travelogue
Art, Cartoons, Photography
- Before Coffee II, Comic book published Oct 2017
- Before Coffee I: Art Show, Plainfield, VT. Aug – Sept 2017
- Cartoons, Watercolors, Metallo Minatures Show Madrid, NM, 2017
- Before Coffee I, Comic book published, May 2017
- Photography and mixed media shows, London UK 1993
- Photography and mixed media, Madison WI, 1993,
- Photography and mixed media, Santa Fe Pride 1997, Santa Fe NM
- Photography and mixed media, Queer Festival, Albuquerque, NM 1998
- Photography, Community Space, East London, 1999
READINGS/ APPEARANCES (2012- 2017)
- 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 EXPERIENCE
- 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
EXPLORING THE NORTHWEST
WITH TWO DOGS AND A CAT IN A CAMPER VAN.
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.
2018 Finalist in NM/AZ Book Awards
2017 Grand Winner/ Best Non-fiction in the Great Northwest Book Contest.
198 pp. $12.50
Best Gay Fiction in NM/AZ Book Awards 2012.
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.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.