Leslie Schwartz is the author of two literary novels, Jumping the Green (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and Angels Crest (Doubleday, 2004.) Jumping the Green won the James Jones Literary Society Award for Best First Novel and was published in three languages. Angels Crest was a Book Sense 76 pick and was published in nine languages. The film version of the book debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Edinburgh Film Festival in April and June of 2011. It was released nationally in the United States in January. It was released and distributed nationally by Magnolia Pictures in January 2012.
In 2004 Schwartz was named Kalliope Magazine's Woman Writer of the Year.
In addition to her novels, Schwartz has published short stories, articles, essays and book reviews in various newspapers, glossy magazines and literary journals. Some of these venues include Poets & Writers, Teachers & Writers, Los Angeles Times and Sonora Review.
Recently, Schwartz taught the National Endowment for the Arts' Big Read Initiative in the California Department of Corrections, a pilot program that brings the Big Read, normally geared for public schools and community organizations, into lock-up facilities. Awards include three artist-in-residence literary grants from the City of Los Angeles, and a literary grant from the California Council for the Humanities and PEN USA. She most recently won the West Hollywood/Algonquin Award for Public Service in the Arts and was the president of PEN USA in 2007.
Schwartz has been a frequent speaker at the annual Associated Writing Programs conferences, the Los Angeles Library ALOUD series and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. For five years, until 2007, she wrote a twice-monthly column for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses in New York City.
Schwartz is also a professional grant writer and has helped raise funds for many non-profit organizations: mainly for those that work to stop violence, increase educational opportunities for low-income students, and help those with medical conditions and diseases, including people at-risk for drug addiction and alcoholism.
She received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Pacific University, one of the top five low-residency programs in the United States and is finishing her third novel.