The Book Publishers Association of Alberta has announced the winners of this year’s Alberta Book Publishing Awards. Established in 1994, these awards seek to recognize the best in Alberta book publishing. Agnes, Murderess by Sarah Leavitt (published by Freehand Books) was chosen as the winner in the category of Speculative Fiction.

From the jury citation:

“In terms of the graphic rendering, the winning title was brilliant. The deceptively simple style reflects an intentional aesthetic that puts strong emphasis on the narrative and the characters themselves. This made personal their struggle against a supernatural adversary, and, perhaps, their own natures. All the elements – design, size, story – worked effectively together; and it will fit right in with other classic Canadian graphic novels, such as Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography, or Two Generals, telling the stories of our history and our people. The winner is Agnes, Murderess, by Sarah Leavitt.”

Agnes, Murderess is a graphic novel inspired by the bloody legend of Agnes McVee, a roadhouse owner, madam and serial killer in the Cariboo region of British Columbia in the late nineteenth century. Fascinated by this legend, which originated in a 1970s guide to buried treasure in BC, and has never been verified, Sarah Leavitt has imagined an entirely new story for the mysterious Agnes: her immigration to Canada from an isolated Scottish Island; her complex entanglement with shiny things; and her terrifying grandmother, Gormul, who haunts Agnes’s dreams and waking life.

Sarah Leavitt is the author of Tangles: A Story of Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me and Agnes, Murderess. Tangles was published in Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Korea, and was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize in 2010. It is currently in development as a feature-length animation. Leavitt teaches comics classes at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Sarah is represented by Samantha Haywood.

To see the full list of winners, please visit: