Leesa Dean was born in Northern British Columbia and raised in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. She spent a decade in Montreal where she studied Creative Writing at Concordia University before moving to Toronto. She also lived on random farms and beaches and befriended a circus bear trainer in the deep south before eventually settling in Krestova, BC, where she still lives on an acreage with her artist husband Matty Kakes and daughter Scarlett Heart. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program and teaches English and Creative Writing at Selkirk College.
Her writing has been nominated for literary awards such as the Trillium and ReLit Awards, the Irving Layton Award, and the Litpop Award. In 2022, she was a finalist in the Diagram Chapbook Contest, shortlisted for the Nick Blatchord Occasional Verse Contest, and in 2023 she was runner-up for the Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize. She is co-founder of the Black Bear Review, a Kootenay-based literary journal, and is a former Interviews Editor for The Humber Literary Review.
Her critically acclaimed short story collection, Waiting for the Cyclone, was published by Brindle & Glass in October 2016. Her poetry chapbook The Desert of Itabira was published by above/ground press in January 2020, and her novella in verse, The Filling Station, was published by Gaspereau Press in 2022. Her chapbook, Apogee/Perigee, is forthcoming with above/groudn press in 2023. She is currently working on a novel that takes place in her home region of the West Kootenay.
The author is represented by Samantha Haywood of Transatlantic Agency.
Photograph by Bob Hall