Leslie What

Novelist, Author

1955 –


Who is Leslie What?

Leslie What is a writer of fantasy and literary fiction and nonfiction. She grew up in Southern California and attended Santa Ana College, and earned a certificate in Vocational Nursing. She also attended California State University Fullerton and received her MFA in Writing from Pacific University in 2006.

She began publishing in 1992 with a story for Asimov's Science Fiction. In 1999 she won the Nebula Award for The Cost of Doing Business, published in Amazing Stories. Her story collaboration with Eileen Gunn, "Nirvana High" was nominated for the 2005 Nebula Award for novelette. She has published more than 80 short stories and essays, and her work has appeared in Parabola, Lilith Magazine, The Clackamas Review, Sci Fiction, Witpunk, Bending the Landscape, The Mammoth Book of Tales from the Road, Midstream, Utne Reader, Calyx, Best New Horror, and other anthologies and magazines. Her collection "Crazy Love" was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award Ken Kesey Fiction award in 2009.

What's father was a teenage conscript who fled Stalin's Red army as Berlin was being partitioned at the end of WWII. He chose the surname "Nelson" after arriving in the United States.

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Los Angeles
Also known as
  • Leslie Nelson
  • United States of America
  • Pacific University
  • California State University, Fullerton
Lived in
  • Eugene

on July 23, 2013


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