fantasy author

Leslye Penelope, who also writes as L. Penelope, has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Her debut novel Song of Blood & Stone was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. The novel also won the inaugural award for Best Self-Published Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her 2022 novel The Monsters We Defy won the 2023 Audie Award for Best Fantasy Audiobook.

She was born in the Bronx, not long after the birth of hip hop, but left before she could acquire an accent. Equally left and right-brained, she studied film production at Howard University and minored in computer science. This led to a master’s degree in multimedia and a career in website development. She’s also an award-winning independent filmmaker, co-founded a literary magazine, and sometimes dreams in HTML.

Leslye is an alumna of VONA/Voices and Hurston/Wright Writers Workshop. She has spoken and taught at conferences and festivals around the country including the Baltimore Book Festival, Romance Writers of America, Writers Digest Annual & Novel Writing Conferences, and the Historical Novel Society.

Her podcast, My Imaginary Friends, is a journal of her publishing life, perfect for readers and writers alike. Leslye lives in Maryland with her feline dependents.

10 Things About Me

1. I skipped kindergarten
2. I wrote my first story at five years old. It was called “Time and the Magic Clock”
3. I was co-editor of my high school literary magazine and co-founded a lit mag as an adult
4. One of my tattoos is a quote from The Matrix 
5. I once worked on the TV show America’s Most Wanted
6. I have another tattoo with quotes from Octavia Butler’s journal.
7. I saw the original cast of Hamilton on Broadway.
8. If karaoke is ever an option, you will not be able to hold me back. (Bring earplugs.)
9. My favorite childhood movie was The Neverending Story. I could recite it word for word.
10. While an undergraduate film student, I once worked at the Cannes Film Festival.
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