Leilani Clark was born in East Los Angeles and spent her early childhood years on Oahu and Kauai. She attended elementary and high school in Los Angeles (Whittier), and college in San Diego, before settling in Northern California. She also lived in New Mexico for two years, where she taught high school English on the Navajo Nation.
She makes her living in nonprofit communications work, and as the editor of Made Local Magazine, a print publication about the Sonoma County food system. Her journalism, book reviews, and culture writing has been published at Mother Jones, The Guardian, The Press Democrat, North Bay Bohemian, Civil Eats, KQED, Sonoma Magazine, Time Magazine.com, and Edible Marin & Wine Country. Her essays have appeared at The Rumpus, Fw:Riction Review, and in the anthologies All of Me: Stories of Love, Anger, and the Female Body and Sunshine/Noir: Writing from Tijuana and San Diego.
Leilani was a 2014 California Endowment Health Reporting Fellow. She has a BA in English Literature from University of California San Diego and an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She is the recipient of a 2019 Discovered Award for Emerging Literary Artists from Creative Sonoma.