Sarah de Leeuw

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Sarah de Leeuw (born 1973) is an award-winning Canadian writer and researcher whose authored publications include Unmarked: Landscapes Along Highway 16, Frontlines: Portraits of Caregivers in Northern British Columbia, Geographies of a Lover, Skeena and Where it Hurts.

De Leeuw is an Associate Professor for the Northern Medical Program and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). Her current research includes:

  • Colonialism in British Columbia
  • Social determinants of Indigenous health
  • Impact of medical programs in northern and rural geographies including doctor-patient relationships with Aboriginal peoples.

A native of British Columbia, she grew up in Duncan, the Queen Charlotte Islands and Terrace. She has worked as a tug boat driver, logging camp cook and journalist. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in creative writing from the University of Victoria where she worked on the student newspaper, The Martlet[1] and a PhD in cultural/historical geography from Queen's University.

Her books Unmarked: Landscapes Along Highway 16 (2004) and Frontlines: Portraits of Caregivers in Northern British Columbia (2011) reflect her interest in geography and small communities in British Columbia. Unmarked is a series of short essays, each linked to a specific place, evoking the local geography and community, and often linked to memories from de Leeuw's childhood. Frontlines is a series of biographical essays about people working in health care and their connections with community. Geographies of a Lover (2012), described by poet Nancy Holmes as "a true eco-erotic text that fuses the lonely carnality of body with the vulnerable vastness of continental landscapes" also represents de Leeuw's interest in human relationships with physical geography.

In fall 2015, Caitlin Press published Skeena,[2] a single poetic narrative spanning more than ninety pages that is an elegy to and celebration of British Columbia’s second-longest river, one at the centre of contemporary conversations about resource extraction and northern geographies.

In spring 2017, NeWest Press published Where it Hurts,[3] a collection of creative non-fiction pieces primarily focused on the difficulties of living in small communities in the B.C. interior.

In 2009, De Leeuw won the CBC Literary Award for creative non-fiction with "Columbus Burning",[4] and placed second the following year with "Quick-quick. Slow. Slow."[5]

In 2013 Geographies of a Lover won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the annual BC Book Book Prize for the best book of poetry by a British Columbian author.


  1. ^ "de Leeuw, Sarah". NeWest Press. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010. 
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  4. ^ "Halifax poet and Toronto writer win CBC awards". 26 February 2009. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Twelve writers receive honours at this year's CBC Literary Awards". 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010. 

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