Leslie Esdaile Banks (December 11, 1959 – August 2, 2011) was an American writer. She wrote in various genres, including African American literature, romance, women’s fiction, crime suspense, dark fantasy/horror and non-fiction. Leslie wrote under the pseudonyms LA Banks,Leslie Esdaile, Leslie Banks and Leslie Esdaile Banks.
She won several literary awards, including the 2008 Essence Literary Awards Storyteller of the Year.
Banks was born and raised in Philadelphia. She contributed to magazines, newspaper columns, and wrote commercial fiction for five major publishers: St. Martin’s Press (NYC), Simon and Schuster (NYC), Kensington Publishing (NYC), BET/Arabesque (NYC), and Genesis Press (MS).
Books 1 and 2 of The Vampire Huntress Legend Series (Minion and The Awakening, respectively), have been optioned for Hollywood films by GothamBeach Entertainment and Griot Entertainment. Originally a nine book series, The Vampire Huntress Legend Series has now been expanded to twelve books (the last being called “The Thirteenth”). Banks was a founding partner of The Liars Club, a networking group of professional in publishing and other aspects of entertainment.
In June 2011 it was announced on Banks’ website that she had been diagnosed with late stage adrenal cancer. It was revealed that due to the extreme costs of her medical care, her family opened up a charitable fund in her name in one of the local Pennsylvania banks. The literary community also rallied around the ailing author, with several supporters starting a series of auctions where the proceeds went towards Banks’ medical care. Many well known people such as bestselling authors P.N. Elrod, Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris donated books and services, as would others in the literary community. On August 2, 2011, the official website of L.A. Banks was updated to reflect her death.
Lit Diva Note: I met L.A. Banks at the Miami Book Fair, International a few years ago. We corresponded via email a couple of times but this was the first time we met in person. When I introduced myself to her, she greeted me as if we were old college roommates. She always made herself available to her fans and was one of the sweetest women I ever met. She was truly a literary diva and her fans misses her.