cowan-lesley-anneLesley Anne Cowan was born in Toronto and studied English and education at McGill University in Montreal. She has travelled extensively and works as a secondary school teacher of troubled youth in Toronto. As She Grows, which is her first novel, was shortlisted for the Chapters/Robertson Davies First Novel Prize and is published by Penguin Books.

As She Grows was first published as adult literary fiction in 2003, however teen readers have since discovered the book and are loving it! As a result, Penguin Books decided to re-release the novel as crossover fiction in Spring 2009. The novel has been picked up by several Toronto District Secondary Schools as independent reading studies. As She Grows has also been a book club selection by many school reading clubs and inner-city literature groups (Massey House, Jessie’s Centre Literature for Life Book Club, Pelletier Homes for Youth, Harbord Collegiate).

Recently, Lesley completed the second book in this series of YA novels called Something Wicked, published by Penguin Books in June 2010. The YA series is intended to be literary fiction that appeals to the interests and challenges of inner-city youth. The female protagonists will all be connected via their social supports (i.e.: probation officer, teacher, group home staff, counselor, judge, CAS worker) but they will not necessarily know one another. Her goal is to continue to explore complexity (and beauty) of the lives of these young women who are so often judged and misunderstood.

Lesley is also writing adult literary fiction. She is currently working on a manuscript that takes place in Kenya, a country she has returned to and lived in for the past three years. She is also refining another manuscript that takes place at a 26 day Thai meditation retreat, exploring the limitations of language and vast potential of silence.

Lesley currently splits her time between Toronto and Kenya.

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