Leslie Vryenhoek is a writer whose fiction, poetry and memoir explore the landscape of intimate relationships. Her writing has been published around the world, and has garnered critical acclaim and awards. Central to her work are questions about belonging, how perspective shapes a story, and how the uneven hand of fortune plays out across lives.
Leslie also works as an editor and mentor with other writers, and as a communications professional. She lives in Saskatoon, Canada.
The Longer Story
Leslie grew up in the suburban south hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Canadian, but the opinions expressed at the dinner table were very American—and the debates were lively. As her parents drifted further right, Leslie took a sharp left and dreamed of living somewhere interesting, of writing books and pursuing lofty notions of do-goodedness.
Her parents said, “Get a real job.”
On summer visits to Manitoba, Leslie fell in love with the prairie and at 18, moved to the country her parents had fled. She completed a bachelor of arts at the University of Manitoba and raised two daughters in Winnipeg. Real jobs included communications and public relations for the University of Winnipeg and the Canadian Red Cross.
In 2005, Leslie relocated to St. John's, Newfoundland (it's a long story, one with a U-Haul and a few sharp corners). There, Leslie leapt into the literary fray. Over the next 15 years, she published four books, edited a dozen more, founded and ran Piper's Frith: Writing at Kilmory, and served on arts boards, including for Riddle Fence, Winterset in Summer Literary Festival, OchreFest and the St. John's International Women's Film Festival.
Leslie worked for Memorial University and The Rooms in St. John's. Since 2010, she has managed a busy freelance career, including writing for WIEGO, a global organization that works to secure livelihoods for informal workers. That work has taken her to Africa, Asia and Latin America, where she has interviewed and written about street vendors, waste pickers, domestic workers, coffee growers and garment workers.
As an editor, Leslie specializes in helping authors hone their words, smartening up (never dumbing down) complex ideas to create clear and compelling pieces.
Leslie is married to journalist and author Russell Wangersky. In 2021, the couple relocated to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They have, between them, several children, two grandchildren, and lively debates over the dinner table.