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Jennifer  De Leon

Jennifer De Leon

Best-Selling Author, Educator & Thought Leader


Jennifer De Leon is author of the YA novel Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (Simon & Schuster, 2020) which was chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection, and the essay collection White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing (UMass Press, 2021), which is a recipient of the Juniper Prize in Creative Nonfiction. Read More >

She is also the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014), an anthology that won an International Latino Book Award.

An Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Framingham State University and faculty member in the Creative Writing & Literature Master Program at Harvard University, she has published prose in over a dozen literary journals including Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, and more.

Her YA novel, Borderless, was published in April 2023 and was selected for the TODAY Show Summer Reading List with Jenna Bush Hager.

Also on the way are two children’s picture books — So Many Gifts, and a biography of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchú. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Jennifer De Leon | Simon & Schuster's Books Like Us

5 Reasons to be Riveted by DON’T ASK ME WHERE I’M FROM by Jennifer De Leon

Speech Topics

The Power of Story Telling

In this honest and interactive talk, Jennifer De Leon—editor, author, and professor of Creative Writing—will share some of the ways in which “story” can provide crucial insight into the complex intersection of race, class, and educational issues, dispelling myths and showcasing the diversity of our shared community’s experiences. She will reference excerpts from her books—the anthology, Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education, the Young Adult novel, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, and the essay collection, White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing— and engage audience questions and reflections.

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

...How These Six Words Shaped Me. Where are you from? Where are you from-from? Where are you really from? These are questions that Jenn faced while growing up—and continues to face—as a person of color. They inspired her to write a young adult novel, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, in which first-generation Latinx Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, Liliana must decide what she believes in and take a stand. In this honest and energizing conversation about race and belonging, Jenn pulls the curtain back on her back on her experiences—in life and in fiction. Concludes with an audience Q & A.

White Space: In Life & On the Page

As a freshman in college, Jenn was not prepared for the academic, social, cultural, and institutional differences she would confront at her private liberal arts college in New England that she says resembled a country club. In this heartfelt, honest talk, Jenn describes moments of conflict, roadblocks really, that she experienced as an undergraduate who dreamed of being a writer—roadblocks that she ultimately turned into stepping-stones. An inspirational keynote geared toward first-gen and students of color, but really for anyone who has ever faced adversity in any way, it concludes with a reading from her award-winning essay collection, White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing and an audience Q & A.

Supporting Students of Color

Jennifer De Leon, author of White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, and Writing, is a seasoned educator of teenage to graduate students. She shares stories from her own experience as a student and teacher and offers her 5 best practices for supporting students of color. Concludes with an audience Q & A. | Popular with teachers and school administrators and staff.