Born in the Boston area to Guatemalan parents, Jennifer De Leon is the author of the novel Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (published by Simon & Schuster/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books in 2020) and the essay collection White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, and Writing (winner of the Juniper Prize and published by UMass Press in 2021). She is also the editor of the anthology, Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (winner of the International Latino Book Award and published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2014).
Jenn graduated from Connecticut College with a double-major in International Relations and French, earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of San Francisco’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice while in the Teach For America program, and later, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UMASS-Boston. She has received several awards and residencies from organizations across the country, including the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, Macondo, VONA, Associates of the Boston Public Library’s Writer-in-Residence Program, and the City of Boston’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Her short story, “Home Movie,” originally published in The Briar Cliff Review, was the 2015 One City, One Story pick as part of the Boston Book Festival (30,000 copies were distributed around the city), and her stories and essays have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines and anthologies, including: Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, and Best Women’s Travel Writing. De Leon is a winner of the 2016 Walter Dean Myers Grant, awarded by We Need Diverse Books, and named a 2020 Latinx Trailblazer by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
After a decade teaching in Boston Public Schools, Jenn is now Associate Professor of English at Framingham State University, and instructor in the Creative Writing and Literature Graduate Program at Harvard University.
In 2022 Jenn founded Story Bridge LLC. Story Bridge programs bring people together from all walks of life to shape, share, and hear each other’s unique stories. By the end of the program, every participant walks away with new, unforgettable connections.
Jenn currently makes her home outside the Boston area with her husband and two sons. Her latest YA novel, Borderless, was published in April, 2023. Also on the way are two children’s picture books—So Many Gifts, and a biography of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchú.