Leigh Ann Ruggiero

Author | Teacher


I am an early-career queer writer whose debut novel, Unfollowers, was excerpted in issue 21 of The Write Launch and shortlisted for the Ohio Writers’ Association’s Great Novel Contest before winning the 2021 Juniper Prize in fiction and being published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2022. The novel addresses issues of colonization; intentional and unintentional passing; and displacement of a cultural, spiritual, and geographic nature.

My work plays with perspective and questions gender. I write from a place of generosity, which means holding characters and ideas up to the light and watching how it refracts. All of us are more complicated than we appear; the trick is to honor these complications while withholding judgment. My writing also seeks a multiplicity of voices: Mikhail Bakhtin, after all, calls narrative polyphonic. The ethical representation of characters with whom I share identities and with whom I don’t is paramount.


A novel
Leigh Ann Ruggiero
Published by the University of Massachusetts Press

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