PERSONAL: Married; children: two. Education: Pacific University, M.F.A.; attended Clarion Writers Workshop.
CAREER: Has worked variously as a nurse, puppeteer, mask maker, and creative-writing teacher; taught at Write on the Sound, Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, Clarion Writers Workshop, Baltimore Writers Conference, and South Coast Writers Conference.
AWARDS, HONORS: Lane Literary Guild Fiction award, 1996, for "Silk Words"; Naked Fiction award, and Story magazine, both for "Storytime"; Nebula Award, 1999, and Soft Science Fiction Award, both for short story "The Cost of Doing Business"; Writer's Digest short story award, 2000, for "Brave Fireman"; Pregnant Chad New-Plays Festival award, for Brave Fireman.
The Sweet and Sour Tongue (short stories), Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2000.
Olympic Games, Tachyon Publications (San Francisco, CA), 2004.
Also author of play Brave Fireman (adapted from her short story), produced in Cornwell, NY. Contributor of short fiction to numerous periodicals and collections, including Amazing Stories, Asimov's Science Fiction, Parabola, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fugue, Macguffin, Witpunk, Realms of Fantasy, Zeppelin Adventure Stories, The Tiptree Anthology, and Bending the Landscape.
SIDELIGHTS: Speculative fiction writer Leslie What published her first short story, "King for a Day," in Asimov's Science Fiction in 1992. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the Nebula Award for her short story "The Cost of Doing Business." What credits an early love of reading for sparking her interest in writing, naming the works of E. Nesbit, Andrew Lang, and Jonathan Swift as influences on her choice of subjects. Her writing focuses less on science-fiction themes such as technology and the future of humanity. In an online interview with Gregory Feeley for Strange Horizons, What explained that "it's clear to me that I'm not trying to predict the future, but like most speculative fiction writers, I'm looking to understand today." Some of What's stories have also been collected in The Sweet and Sour Tongue.
In Olympic Games What places the Greek gods in a modern setting—a town in the Catskill Mountains in the twenty-first century—and depicts an updated version of the traditional twists and turns of mythology. Jackie Cassada, in a review for Library Journal, called the book "delightfully told, with touches of humor and moments of dramatic intensity," and a contributor to Small Press Bookwatch found it "a witty, dazzling work of fantasy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, August, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Olympic Games, p. 72.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June, 2004, Damon Knight, "The Goddess Is Alive and Well, Living in New York," p. 35.
Small Press Bookwatch, August, 2004, review of Olympic Games.
Leslie What Home Page, http://www.lesliewhat.com (October 14, 2005).
San Francisco Chronicle Online, http://www.sfgate.com/ (May 23, 2004), review of Olympic Games.
SFF.net, http://www.sff.net/ (June 20, 2005), "Leslie What."
SFsite.com, http://www.sfsite.com/ (June 20, 2005), "Leslie What."
Strange Horizons, http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (June 20, 2005), Gregory Feeley, "Leslie What."
Tachyon Publications Web site, http://www.tachyonpublications.com/ (June 20, 2005), "Leslie What."