Leslie Williams is a prize-winning poet and spiritual director now living near Boston. Born and raised in the American South, her work is infused with the expatriate’s longing for home and the spiritual truths found in ritual, silence, and the community of the church. Her first book won the 2010 Bellday Prize and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. As judge Lucia Perillo wrote: “A reader never knows what is coming next in the poems of Success of the Seed Plants—they move as one would cross a stream, by adroitly leaping from rock to rock. The mood here therefore feels risky, as the narrator gambles against falling. I found her mental agility exhilarating.”

Leslie’s next book, Even the Dark, was chosen by Allison Joseph for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition and was a finalist for the Julia Ward Howe Award in Poetry.

Her poems appear widely in magazines including America, Liberties, Image, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, The Christian Century, Poetry, and many others. She’s the recipient of the Robert Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Individual Artist Grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, among other honors. Leslie is the mother of two grown sons and lives near Boston with her husband of almost 30 years. She is a practicing Episcopalian, Godly Play teacher, and trained spiritual director who is always wondering about the Divine.