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Who Is Laura? – Who Is JT LeRoy?

You don’t need permission to write the story you need to tell.

Laura Albert won international acclaim writing fiction as JT LeRoy. She is the author of the novels Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, reissued by HarperCollins, and the novella Harold’s End, with illustrations by Cherry Hood. Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things have also been released as audiobooks by Blackstone Publishing. Laura Albert is also the subject of Jeff Feuerzeig’s feature documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story and Lynn Hershman Leeson’s film The Ballad of JT LeRoy. Cinema Eye, the organization that recognizes outstanding craft and artistry in nonfiction filmmaking, cited Laura Albert in Author as one of its 2016 list of Unforgettables: the year’s most notable and significant nonfiction-film subjects.

Laura’s books have also been reissued in the UK by Little Brown. Brazil’s Geração Editorial also re-released the JT LeRoy books in a boxset under Laura’s name – and she and JT were the subjects of the hit Brazilian rock musical JT, Um Conto de Fadas Punk (JT, A Punk Fairy Tale).

Laura contributes to print and online publications internationally, in a career that includes the cover feature for Man About Town and articles for The New York Times, The Forward, The London Times, Spin, Film Comment, Filmmaker, Interview, I-D, Vogue, The Face, Dazed and Confused, and VESTOJ, the Platform for Critical Thinking on Fashion. She was a contributing editor to Black Book, I-D, SOMA, and 7×7 magazines and is currently an editor for Diane Pernet’s A Shaded View On Fashion (, and the Outpost section of She has written for dot429, the world’s largest LGBTA professional network, and been an invited speaker at their annual conferences in New York.

Laura’s writing has brought her to speaking engagements from the story-telling series The Moth in New York to Foyles bookstore in London and Brazil’s international Bienal Brasil do Livro e da Leitura, where Laura and Alice Walker were the 2012 U.S. representatives. Her interview given to Nathaniel Rich was the cover feature of the Fall 2006 issue of The Paris Review; she also gave an extensive interview to Adam Langer for the August 2013 issue of Interview Magazine. She has spoken extensively and lectured about gender-variance and transgender issues for such sources as BOMB Magazine, Ireland’s Mindfield Literary Stage, dot429, the Utah Valley University Transgression Symposium, and others.

She wrote the original script for Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, winner of the 2003 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and was Associate Producer. For Asia Argento’s film adaptation of The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Laura served as Associate Producer. She also co-scripted Jean-Claude Schlim’s film House of Boys and was a writer for the HBO series Deadwood. Her writing for short films includes Radiance for Drew Lightfoot and ContentMode, and Dreams of Levitation and We Vault for Sharif Hamza and Nowness. In 2012 Laura served on the juries of the first Brasilia International Film Festival and the Sapporo International Short Film Festival.

The editor of Da Capo Best Music Writing 2005, she has contributed writing to such short-story anthologies as The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003, edited by Dave Eggers and read by Tatum O’Neal on audio edition; MTV’s Lit Riffs; XXX, edited by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Nadav Kander’s Beauty’s Nothing; and The Fourth Sex, Adolescent Extremes, edited by Francesco Bonami and Raf Simons. She has also been published in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story, McSweeney’s, and the Oxford American Music issue.

She has written liner notes and biographies for musicians Billy Corgan, Liz Phair, Conor Oberst, Bryan Adams, Nancy Sinatra, and Courtney Love, as well as the liner notes for the Criterion Collection DVD of My Own Private Idaho, which features an audio segment with JT, Gus Van Sant, and Jonathan Caouette. With the band Thistle LLC, she contributed songs to the film Andy Warhol: Morning Star; she was also the voice of Warhol, reading from his Philosophy and Diaries. She also contributed to a podcast project for San Francisco’s MOMA on Warhol.

Laura has collaborated with director and playwright Robert Wilson and with Noah Khoshbin for the international exhibition of Wilson’s VOOM video portraits, as well as for the catalog of Wilson’s “Frontiers: Visions of the Frontier” at IVAM Valencia.

Profiled as an “indie fashion fighter” in the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle, Laura has served as a member of Diane Pernet’s ASVOFF fashion film competition jury. Steven Klein has photographed Laura for QVEST magazine; so has Kai Regan, for his “Reckless Endangerment” at ALIFE. She has also done fashion shoots for Christian Lacroix and John Galliano, written films for ContentMode and Nowness, and interviewed numerous designers. ContentMode has published her series of fashion-related interviews with film and television actors. She coordinated a fashion show as an HIV/AIDS fundraiser for the Academy of Friends Oscar Party, bringing together Melange Productions and the multi-talented young people of Project Level – an arts academy for at-risk youth in San Francisco, where Laura was Director of Strategic Development – to create looks for the show, which they modeled.

Laura profiled award-winner Juergen Teller for the 2003 Citibank Photography Prize catalogue, and was a catalog contributor for both the “Blind Cut” exhibition at New York’s Marlborough Chelsea and “An Autobiography of the San Francisco Bay Area, Parts 1 & 2, Part 1: San Francisco Plays Itself” at SF Camerawork. Laura has collaborated with Williamsburg band Japanther, releasing a limited-edition cassette under the name True Love in a Large Room, with original artwork by Winston Smith, and with the San Francisco band The Size Queens on The Size Queens III album.

A spokeswoman for the successful “Heart for Eye” campaign to raise funds for restorative eye surgery for children, Laura hosted a television segment and was both an interview subject and an interviewer of inspirational women such as Anastasia Barbieri and Anh Duong. As part of the campaign, she was photographed by Marc Horn in ads that ran in Korean Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, W, Marie Claire, and other publications.

She has also taught at Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia and California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and lectured with artist Jasmin Lim at Artists’ Television Access with SF Camerawork’s Chuck Mobley. She is currently a board member of the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, which works to ensure that people with disabilities are full social and economic partners, both within their families and in a fully accessible community.

For several years Laura was the chief entertainment/travel writer/personality for, a San Francisco City Guide produced by Cox Interactive Media in conjunction with KTVU/Fox 2, KNBR and The Ticket 1050. She has hosted a series of radio segments at KPOO and KUSF on film, food, and travel. Laura’s other credits include being weekly show host for Rolling Stone, an Internet RealAudio show for Web Entertainment Group; travel writer for a New York-based publication, Singles Almanac; and lifestyle columnist for The Web Magazine and Maxim magazine.


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