FORMAL, third person biography:
Léna Roy was raised in New York City, in the cloistered environs of a theological seminary, and survived the extracurricular education provided by Manhattan’s 1980s club scene. Holding an BA in English from Barnard and a MA in Drama Therapy from NYU, Léna has worked as a bartender, an
actor, and with at-risk adolescents in Utah, California, and New York. Léna now runs the Westchester and Connecticut branches of Writopia Lab, a not-for-proﬁt whose mission is to instill joy, literacy and critical thinking through creative writing to ALL kids and teens! Teaching and empowering others to find and use their own voice is her passion.
Mentoring is the connective tissue in Léna’s life. She descends from a family of writers, including her grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle, who remains her inspiration and touchstone; Léna herself mentors students through her work as a teacher; and in her debut novel EDGES, the young protagonists see
their way forward by those who have walked ahead of them. Léna now lives in Katonah, New York,
where she and her husband raise three children.
Casual, first person bio:
I grew up in an eclectic atmosphere in New York City, surrounded by artists, writers, priests, teachers: academia and bohemia commingling to shape me into a seeker of art and spirituality. I am also the product of a generation that had a paralysis of infinite choices in what to do, who to be.
I have grown up through writing. My grandmother gave me my first journal when I was nine. I still have it: a thin, dark blue leather bound book. A book to be taken seriously. I have kept a journal by my bedside and in my purse ever since. The practice has helped shape who I am and how I think and I have often joked that it has been my one and only discipline.
So yes, I always wrote, yet for a long time I did not take myself or my writing very seriously.
I wrote through my school years, where I also fell in-love with acting. I wrote short stories and lots of bad poetry while studying English and Italian literature at Barnard College. I wrote monologues and performance pieces while I bartended and acted some more. I wrote while pursuing a Masters degree in Drama Therapy from NYU.
Then I found my comfort-zone working with teens, and at the age of thirty-five finally gave myself permission to work on a long piece of fiction. I dared to dream of being a "writer". I did not write with an audience in mind, but it's no wonder that when I started EDGES, the teen voices shone through.
Now I live and breathe being a Writopian, and creating a community of young writers. A big coup for me has been being nationally recognized as a writing teacher by the Scholastic Writing Awards every year since 2014!
As for my own writing, my sister and I have been collaborating on a biography about our grandmother, Madeleine L'Engle. It is forthcoming in April of 2018!
Read and write on!