It is with profound sadness that we report the passing of Leslie Esdaile, perhaps better known as Urban Fantasy writer L.A. Banks. After a difficult struggle with adrenal cancer, L.A. died this morning. Echoing the rally of support she received when her illness was announced, the literary community is extending their fund-raising efforts to help pay for hospital and funeral expenses.
New York Times and USA Today New York Times Best-selling author, L.A. Banks penned over 40 novels and 21 novellas in a wide range of genres. She was the recipient of 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. In addition, in 2010, Ms. Banks was honored by the University of Pennsylvania Black Alumni Society as “A Living Legend,” and was inducted in the Temple University Gallery of Success for the School of Communications and Theater in 2005.
Recently, she was featured as a speaker on the HBO Special on Vampire Literature and Legends as a prelude to the True Blood premier. Banks was also appointed by Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia to the Board of Trustees for the Philadelphia Free Library, and as a commissioner on The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy.
A native of Philadelphia, Banks was a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate program, and alumnae of Temple University’s Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking program. She wrote under the pseudonyms L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks, Leslie Banks, and Leslie Esdaile Banks. She won several business as well as literary awards, and wrote in genres as diverse as romance, women’s fi ction, crime suspense, and paranormal. She contributed to magazines, newspaper columns, and wrote commercial fiction for a variety of major publishers: St. Martin’s Press, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, Kensington Publishing, BET/Arabesque,Dark Horse Press, Genesis Press, Parker Publishing, Harper, and Tor. Her non-fiction work includes the riveting and motivational story of Bank’s life journey in her contribution to the Chicken Soup for the African American Soul anthology.