2011 Alumni Hall of Fame Honoree


A New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Leslie Esdaile Banks penned more than 40 novels and 12 novellas in a wide range of genres.

A native of Philadelphia, Banks earned an undergraduate degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a master of fine arts in film and media arts from Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater. She wrote under the pseudonyms L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks and Leslie Esdaile Banks.

A winner of several business and literary awards, Banks wrote in genres as diverse as romance, women’s fiction, crime suspense and paranormal. She contributed to magazines, newspapers, and wrote commercial fiction for a variety of major publishers. Her nonfiction work includes the riveting and motivational story of Banks’ life journey in her contribution to Chicken Soup for the African American Soul.

Banks’ writing career took a new twist when she won a coveted contract with Paramount/Showtime, in collaboration with Simon & Schuster/Pocketbooks, to write a book series for the television series Soul Food. She was also contracted to write the novelization of the movie Scarface, which takes a look at Tony Montana’s life two years before he emigrated from Cuba to America in 1978. Additionally, Banks penned a four-book crime thriller, beginning with Betrayal of the Trust. From there, Banks transitioned into another hot genre – the world of paranormal fiction, where she penned a 12-book Vampire Huntress series, as well as the werewolf series Crimson Moon.

She was the recipient of 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. Recently, she was featured on an HBO special on vampire literature and legends as a prelude to the True Blood premiere.

Banks passed away Aug. 2, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer.