Leslie T. Chang lived in China for a decade as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, specializing in stories that explored how socioeconomic change is transforming institutions and individuals. Her first book, Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, traces the lives of two young women from the countryside who work in a factory city in South China, interwoven with her own family history of migrations within China and to the West. The book was published in 2008 by Spiegel & Grau, a Random House imprint. Factory Girls was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best books of the year by many publications. Chang is a recipient of a PEN USA Literary Award and an Asian American Literary Award.
A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in American History and Literature, Chang has also worked as a journalist in the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She was raised outside New York City by immigrant parents who forced her to attend Saturday-morning Chinese school, for which she is now grateful.
She and her husband, writer Peter Hessler, moved back to the United States in 2007. They live in a small town in southwestern Colorado that has one Chinese restaurant.