Free Library of Philadelphia Board of Trustees member and New York Times bestselling author Leslie Esdaile Banks has passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Leslie wrote more than 50 novels and novellas in multiple genres, from paranormal to crime thrillers to romance and everything in between. She received the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Fiction and the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award, as well as the 2008 Best 50 Women in Business Award for the State of Pennsylvania.
She is the author of several well-known and well-loved series of books, including Crimson Moon and Vampire Huntress, both written under the pseudonym of L.A. Banks. She also wrote the accompanying book series for the Emmy-nominated television show, Soul Food. Leslie recently self-published the first novel in her new young adult paranormal series, Neteru Academy.
A Philadelphia native, Leslie attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University’s M.F.A. in filmmaking program. She was a member of the Liar’s Club, a group of Philly-based authors who enthusiastically support independent bookstores, libraries, and fellow writers in the region. In her memory, the Liar’s Club is hosting a Writers’ Bash fundraiser on Saturday, August 6, the proceeds of which will support Leslie's family.
Appointed to the Free Library’s Board of Trustees by Mayor Michael A. Nutter just over a year ago, Leslie quickly became a valued member of the Library’s leadership team. She shared her expertise and insight on writing, the publishing business, and the future of libraries with both Board members and staff; she also appeared twice in the Library’s renowned Author Events Series.
Leslie’s generous spirit, incisive input, and creative mind were unparalleled. Her passion for the Free Library of Philadelphia inspired us all, just as her bestselling novels have inspired countless readers throughout the world. She will be missed deeply by the Free Library community.