Leslie Jamison is an extraordinarily gifted writer whose work explores the strengths and limits of our shared humanity. Her writing has been called at once “profound” and “intellectual” and then “poetic” and “philosophical.” She’s often compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, the inheritor of a great American literary tradition.
Leslie’s collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, won the 2012 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. The Huffington Post declared that Leslie “seems poised for greatness; don’t miss out.” The Gin Closet, Leslie’s first book was one of The San Francisco Chronicle’s best books of the year. Leslie’s articles, essays and fiction have appeared in many publications including Harper’s, The Believer and The New York Times.
In 2018, Leslie released The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, a book that seamlessly blends memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and reportage. The Recovering chronicles how we tell stories about addiction, as well as the larger history of the recovery movement. Stephen King states that The Recovering is, “An honest and important book…Vivid writing and required reading.” Leslie’s anticipated collection of essays, Make It Scream, Make It Burn, are set to release in fall 2019.
A graduate of Harvard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Leslie also recently graduated with her PhD from Yale University. She is an assistant professor at Columbia University and also mentors through the PEN Prison Writing Program. She has worked— for various stints, in various points—as a baker, an office temp, a barista, a medical actor, and an innkeeper. Leslie’s aunt is the renowned psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and her husband is the bestselling novelist Charles Bock.