Skeena Scholarship in Creative Writing

Dr. Sarah de Leeuw graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing (Creative Nonfiction and Poetry) from UVic in 1996. She holds a PhD in historical-cultural geography and is currently an Associate Professor with the Northern Medical Program at UNBC, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she works in medical humanities and the determinants of marginalized peoples' health. This scholarship is in honour of her two parents, Mary and Dionys de Leeuw, who are both UVic alumni and raised her in northern BC in close proximity to the Skeena River where her dad's ashes were spread in 2014. DeLeeuw grew up on Haida Gwaii (The Queen Charlotte Islands), then lived in Terrace, BC. After earning her BFA from the University of Victoria she spent time teaching English in South Korea. She also worked as a tug boat driver, women's centre coordinator, logging camp cook, a freelance journalist and a correspondent with various CBC Radio programs. She returned to northern BC after spending four years in Ontario and another year in Tucson as a visiting Postdoctoral Fulbright Scholar with the University of Arizona. In addition to co-editing two academic texts, her first literary book, Unmarked Landscapes Along Highway 16, was published in 2004. Her second, Geographies of a Lover, arrived in Spring 2012 and won The Dorothy Livesay Award for the best book of poetry in British Columbia that year. She is also the author of Frontlines: Portraits of Caregivers in Northern British Columbia (2011) and Skeena (2015), which won a Silver Medal Willa Literary Award in poetry for women’s writing about western geographies. For two consecutive years, Sarah de Leeuw was honored in the Creative Nonfiction category of the CBC Literary Awards, winning first place for "Columbus Burning" in 2009, and second place for ''Quick-quick. Slow. Slow.'' in 2010. In 2013 her creative nonfiction essay about murdered and missing Indigenous women in northern British Columbia, "Soft Shoulder", earned a Western Magazine Gold Award.

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