Aya de Leon

Aya de León

Visiting Writer; Adjunct Professor

Visiting Faculty


Professor de León is a Cave Canem fellow, a VONA alumna, and the author of five books, including Side Chick Nation, the first novel published about Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Her latest novel is A Spy in the Struggle, about FBI infiltration of a Bay Area movement for climate justice and Black Lives.

A two-time winner of the International Latino Book Award, her novels have won multiple Independent Publisher awards. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Ebony, Essence, Guernica, Ploughshares, and on Def Poetry. In 2022, Candlewick will publish Aya’s first young adult novel in a Black/Latina spy girl series. She is the director of June Jordan's Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley, teaching poetry and spoken word.


  • MFA Bennington College and Antioch University, Los Angeles
  • BA Harvard College