Russell Leong is a poet, editor, essayist, documentary filmmaker, and short story writer. Born in Chinatown, San Francisco, California in 1950, Leong was educated in local Chinese and American schools. His parents, brother, and English teacher encouraged him to write from an early age. He took one of the first Asian American writing/literature classes from Jeffery Chan at San Francisco State College, where he also earned his B.A. in 1972. Leong was part of the Kearny Street Workshop, a community-based workshop consisting of writers, poets, and filmmakers of Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese American heritage who linked their artistic creations with social and political activism. Leong pursued graduate study at National Taiwan University in 1973 and 1974 and received an M.F.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1990.
Phoenix Eyes and Other Stories (2000), Leong's first short story collection, includes fourteen stories from a thirty-year span. It won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 2001. Some of the stories in this collection (some under a different name) had appeared in several Asian American literature anthologies: “Thread” in Asian American Authors (1972), “Rough Notes for Mantos” in Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers (1974), and “Geography One” in Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction (1993). Leong's stories, essays, and poems have also been published in numerous journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the New England Review, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, Los Angeles Times, Zyzzyva, and Disorient. Leong's first