Bio/contact

“Alex Leslie melds remarkable acuity of vision with a refreshing eagerness for formal experimentation. She’s at once a writer’s writer and an accomplished teller of tales.  Leslie displays a tremendous gift for compassion that’s equal to a talent for technique.”

–Dayne Ogilvie Prize Jury Citation, The Writers’ Trust of Canada

“Gem-like stories…Clear-eyed, poetic prose from an impressive rising talent.”

–NOW Magazine

“Leslie’s writing blends patience and violence… We All Need to Eat is a work of precision. As the stories layer on top of each other, Alex Leslie opens many of urban life’s paradoxes.”

– Canadian Notes & Queries

Bio

I am a poet and fiction writer born on unceded Musqueam territory in Vancouver; my heritage is English and Ashkenazi Jewish from Ukraine. I was born and raised in Vancouver. I’ve published two collections of short fiction and two collections of poetry.

My collection of stories We All Need to Eat was published by Book*hug in Fall 2018 and was shortlisted for a 2019 BC Book Prize for fiction (the Ethel Wilson prize) and is currently shortlisted for the 2020 Kobzar Prize; it was a Top 10 book of 2018 by Now Magazine and a fiction pick of the year by 49th Shelf. My poetry collection, Vancouver for Beginners (poems), is out with Book*hug in Fall 2019 – you can read about it and pre-order it here.  In 2014, my collection of prose poems The things I heard about you (Nightwood), an experiment in procedural writing, was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroetsch Award for innovative poetry – it’s available through the publisher here. My collection of short stories People Who Disappear was published in 2012 (Freehand ), shortlisted for a Lambda Award for debut fiction. In 2011, Nomados published my chapbook of microfictions Twenty Objects for the New World.

My writing has won a CBC Literary Award for fiction, a Gold National Magazine Award for creative non-fiction and has been published in Granta‘s first spotlight issue on Canadian contemporary literature (2017), the Journey Prize anthology (McClelland & Stewart), Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope) and Best Canadian Stories (Oberon). I received the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada for emerging LGBT*Q2S writers. I was shortlisted for the 2018 ARC poem of the year award for my poem ‘The Purity Detector.”  I have been a guest fiction mentor at the Banff Centre for the Arts and a Writer-in-Residence for the Vancouver International Writers Festival’s school outreach program. I am currently writing a novel.

Praise for Vancouver for Beginners (poems)

“Ingenious, mesmerizing and gorgeously written, Vancouver for Beginners showcases Leslie’s remarkable talent and singular voice. It conjures an imagined city that is many cities, a place as fantastical as it is achingly real, a city of the dead and the living, of plexiglass cliffs and electric trees. This is a book to savour and reread.”
—Ayelet Tsabari, author of The Art of Leaving

“Alex Leslie’s Vancouver is as surreal as the dream city itself. These dispatches from Vancouvers past, present, and future overflow with piercing, wry vision. Leslie casts a keen eye over short-sighted development and pans out to the wide-lens perspective of deep time. Meanwhile, the city’s inhabitants grapple with the day-to-day: parasitic developers, potentially rising radioactive waters, friends lost one by one to the opioid crisis.  Captivating and urgent, Vancouver For Beginners is a must-read for anyone who ever woke up bewildered in Vancouver.”
—Sachiko Murakami, author Get Me Out of Here

“In Vancouver for Beginners, Alex Leslie beautifully contributes to the long poetic tradition documenting, interrogating, and re-imagining the city of Vancouver. This is a new guidebook that refuses utopia and the erasure of traumatic history. It’s a book for after the pipelines and before the collapse but there’s still a poet here, in this place, writing the invisible and trusting us to read.”
—Jordan Scott, author of Night & Ox

Order a copy of Vancouver for Beginners (released October 2019) through the publisher here.

Praise for We All Need to Eat (stories)

We All Need to Eat is a stunning inquiry into the sharpness of the world as it collides with the fragility – the ambiguities and possibilities – of the self. Alex Leslie a tremendously gifted and compassionate writer. This bold and searing collection is a wonder.”

Madeleine Thien, Scotiabank Giller Prize winning author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Dogs at the Perimeter, Certainty, and Simple Recipes

“[Moves] between the poetic and the fictional, constantly evolving, constantly making words swerve in countless directions, and captivating readers one sentence at a time. A magnetic collection that must be read over and over.”

Kirkus Reviews

There’s plenty to say about We All Need To Eat, all of it good. In her second story collection Vancouver’s Alex Leslie has created a thematically rich and sophisticated portrait of an individual and her entwined networks — family, friends, lovers. […] In the tradition of Alice Munro’s “Royal Beatings” and Barbara Gowdy’s “Disneyland,” Leslie’s lovely-but-sad depiction of helpless innocence is managed with a perfectly sure hand.”

—Brett Josef Grubisic, The Toronto Star

Order ‘We All Need to Eat’ through the publisher here.

IMG_3071
Cover and book design: Malcolm Sutton

Contact


If you have a writing-related inquiry or request relating to We All Need to Eat or Vancouver for Beginners, please contact Hazel Millar at Book*hug Press: <hazel@bookhugpress.ca>.

I am at <al.leslie@gmail.com> and live in the Vancouver, BC area. Know that my email filters large attachments.

“All the world is a narrow bridge. The crucial thing is to have no fear at all.” – Rabbi Nachman of Breslev