Leslie Shimotakahara is a writer and recovering academic, who wanted to be simply a writer from before the time she could read. Hard-pressed to answer her parents’ question of how she would support herself as a writer, Leslie got drawn into the labyrinthine study of literature, completing her B.A. in Honours English from McGill in 2000, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Modern American Literature from Brown in 2006. After graduation, she taught English at St. Francis Xavier University for two years. Leslie woke up one morning and realized that she’d had enough of the Ivory Tower. The fact that she wasn’t doing what she wanted to do with her life loomed over her, and the realization was startling. It was time to stop studying and passively observing life and do something real instead. Her memoir, The Reading List: Literature, Love, and Back Again (Variety Crossing Press, fall 2011), is her foray which won the 2012 Canada-Japan Literary Award. Her writing has also been published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, and GENRE.

  • A Japanese Custom” in Maple Tree Literary Supplement
  • Listen to a review of Leslie’s memoir The Reading List: Literature, Love, and Back Again by the CBC here (starts on 33:40 min.)

Download and listen to this podcast file to hear Leslie share her experience as an Emerging Writer with Diaspora Dialogues and describe her own writing process.