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Leslie Johnson


Leslie Johnson’s fiction has been broadcast on NPR and published in over thirty journals and magazines, including The Threepenny Review, Glimmer Train, Colorado Review, Third Coast, december, and Cimarron Review. Winner of the 2017 Pushcart Prize, her work appears in the recent “best of Pushcart prose” anthology, Love Stories for Turbulent Times (Pushcart Press, January, 2018). Her recently completed first novel,

Here By Me, is represented by Julie Stevenson of Massie & McQuilkin.


Leslie holds an MFA from the University of Arizona and now teaches at the University of Hartford. The recipient of two individual artist grants from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Leslie also works as a teaching artist, leading workshops and residencies at schools, libraries, and museums. She lives with her husband, the poet Bruce Cohen, in rural Connecticut; they have three wonderful sons.

Leslie Johnson, Writer

Leslie Johnson



Literary representation
Julie Stevenson
Massie & McQuilkin
27 West 20th Street
Suite 305
New York, NY 10011


Click here to contact Leslie Johnson directly 
for information about speaking engagements, writing workshops, residencies, and other programs.
About Leslie Johnson
Armstrong Literary
Winter, 2020


Suddenly the teenage girls of Woodmont were pregnant.

Sandy Stickles counted off on her fingers six names – all Woodmont High girls – to Paula as they speed-walked around the Community Park track as they did every Sunday morning.

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Phoebe Winter 2020
Winter, 2020
Adelaide November 2018
Fall, 2018
The Flexible Persona Fall 2018
The Flexible Persona
Fall, 2018
Superstition Review
Fall, 2017
Issue20 Cover_0.jpg
Spring, 2017
december magazine
Summer, 2016
terminus Magazine


Nan reaches under the seat where she's stowed her purse, lifts it to the lap of her new micro-fiber pants, guaranteed by Travelsmith catalogue not to crease even worn for hours on a cramped plane.

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Colorado Review
Spring, 2015
2017 Pushcart Prize XLI


2017 Pushcart Prize Winner

Midmorning in mid-October, in the middle of the campus, Chandra stopped in the center of the crisscrossing sidewalks. 

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Cimarron Review
Natural Bridge
Spring, 2014


Pushcart Prize Nominee

You can see the giant sign looming in the air from the interstate by the exit for Sturbridge, Massachusettes - a huge plastic pie the size of a satellite dish with one piece missing so its simulated apple filling shows.

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Cimarron Review
Fall, 2014
Winter, 2013
South Carolina Review
Fall, 2012
South Carolina Review


When the phone rings at 12:37 at night, Lori's heart squeezes and simultaneously her mind forms the words what no no it's nothing oh god it's something...

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Summer, 2012
The Writing Disorder
The Writing Disorder
Summer, 2012
Reed Magazine
Reed Magazine
Spring, 2012


I was a newlywed, a pregnant teenage bride. This was years ago, in Blue Earth, Minnesota, and in the opinion of my mother-in-law, I had ruined her only son's life.

Colorado Review
Colorado Review
Spring, 2011

Leslie Johnson teaches writing and literature at the University of Hartford, where she has won awards for sustained excellence in teaching (2011) and creative scholarship (2013).


In addition, Leslie is passionate about her work as a Teaching Artist, providing workshops and residencies for students of all ages, as well as professional development seminars for educators about arts-integration strategies. 


For younger students (K-8), Leslie specializes in lively, arts-infused residencies (short and long-term) that foster creativity while developing literacy skills; for teens, college students and adults, Leslie leads writing workshops that inspire and challenge participants within a supportive atmosphere.


Leslie is highly experienced as a Teaching Artist for the CT Office of the Arts (Arts in Education Department); an Arts Provider and Arts Leader for the Hartford Performs organization; a workshop leader for the Mark Twain House; and a professional development presenter trained by the Kennedy Center.


For more information about Leslie’s programs or to schedule a workshop or residency, please click here.

Adana Journal.jpg

Leslie’s new creative nonfiction essay, “Wonderful World,” will be published in a special issue of the Adana Literary Journal focusing on women’s experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.  Look for the issue in Fall 2020.

Leslie was awarded a competitive 2020 Artist Respond Grant to develop new, socially responsive art during the pandemic.  Leslie developed and distributed to CT schools creative writing enrichment materials to be used by teachers, parents, and students during distance learning.  Interested educators or parents can contact Leslie to receive the materials.
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Leslie’s story “Midterm,” originally published in Colorado Review and winner of the 2017 Pushcart Prize, appears in the anthology Love Stories for Turbulent Times: Loving through the Apocalypse (Genie D. Chipps and Bill Henderson, editors, Pushcart Press, January, 2018), a collection of the best prose from the past decades of the Pushcart Prize (available on Amazon and Barnes &

Love Stories for Turbulent Times: Loving through the Apocalypse
“Selected from hundreds of Pushcart Prize winners, twenty-five brilliant writers - including Charles Baxter, Karen Russell, Charles Johnson, and Donald Hall - tell their contemporary love tales, both fiction and nonfiction, in often unsparing ways. In some there is a joyous celebration of love, in others the game is perplexing, but always fascinating.”
"Poetry of the Gardens”:  A Nature Writing Workshop at the Litchfield Historical Society. 
Date:  Monday, September 14th (rain date September 21st ).

Leslie joins Teaching Artist and musician Thomsina Levy in leading a special program funded by the Connecticut Office of the arts. After listening to nature-themed poems and a musical performance, participants will create original poems inspired by the sights and sounds of the beautiful gardens of the historical society’s Tapping Reeve Meadow. This is an outdoor, socially distanced event following all Covid-19 precautions.  Register today by calling the Litchfield Historical Society at 860-567-4501 or emailing

"Creative Spirit Workshops”

New!  Leslie and musician Thomasina Levy now offer Creative Spirit workshops combining music and poetry in an uplifting, participation-based experience.  “Over the years I have attended many writing workshops, and I have to tell you that yours was one of the most inspiring and transformative” – Alisa P., recent Creative Spirit workshop participant. 


During the Covid-19 pandemic, these workshops are available in person in outdoor spaces and online.  Contact Leslie directly for information about scheduling a Creative Spirit workshop.

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