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Aya de Leon on writing the first published novel about Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria

Courtesy of Aya de Leon

UC Berkeley Professor Aya de Leon lit up the Bay Area’s slam poetry scene back in the '90s. Now, she’s a novelist. Her award-winning series, "Justice Hustlers" features action-packed, erotic, feminist heist stories, where the sheroes are sex workers. 

"Part of what I wanted to do was to start creating the books of the people who are like my people with the values that are like my values, but with the action and the drama."

Her characters rob wealthy misogynists and help women that have been exploited. Her latest book, "Side Chick Nation," is the first published novel that explores the aftermath of Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria. 

Click the audio player above to hear her story.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.