Jennifer Leatherman Wong
When not doing work for the SAL Board, Jennifer can be found writing and researching her historical novel set in the 1850s; volunteering at her children’s school, the Seattle Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral; attending basketball, soccer, track, and ultimate frisbee games, high school musicals and dance recitals; walking her darling French Bulldog, Hugo; haunting antique shops; and reading, always reading. She is originally from the land of lush fields, thunderstorms, and dark woods of Northwest Ohio. Historically, the land was called The Great Black Swamp, and today it has some of the richest farmland in the country—Jennifer grew up on a family farm of a thousand acres that her parents farm, though they are in their seventies.
When she was a child, Jennifer’s favorite books were the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. (She loved them so much that she visited Prince Edward Island when she was a little older.) As a young girl growing up in a rural area and going to school in a small town, she felt Anne was a kindred spirit of hers.
One of Jennifer’s favorite SAL events was Anchee Min—she and her husband had just returned from a trip to China, and she had read Min’s memoir, Red Azalea, in preparation for the trip. Jennifer says, “Min’s life in China was tragic, epic, and filled with up-close encounters with Chinese larger-than-life historical figures; she was hand-picked from the rice fields to be an actress for Madame Mao … At the end, she sang from one of Madame Mao’s productions that she remembered performing in decades ago. It was unforgettable.”
Jennifer’s personal motto comes from Mary Oliver’s poem, “Instructions for Living a Life”: “Pay Attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” Unless she’s looking for a parking spot downtown or on Capitol Hill—then her personal motto is: “Fortune favors the bold.”