Patricia Leavy, Ph.D. is a best-selling, award-winning author, publisher, arts advocate, and internationally recognized leader in research design and arts-based research. She is widely considered the world’s most visible proponent of arts-based research as a means of making research publicly accessible. Moreover, she coined the terms “social fiction” and “fiction-based research” and has been pioneering the world-wide effort to legitimate fiction as a research practice. As an author, Dr. Leavy has earned critical and commercial success in both nonfiction and fiction, and her work has been translated into numerous languages.
After receiving several prestigious awards and fellowships Dr. Leavy earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College in 2002. Dr. Leavy was a tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at Stonehill College from 2002-2012 where she also served as Founding Director of the Gender Studies Program and the Chairperson of the Sociology & Criminology Department. Dr. Leavy previously taught at Boston College, Northeastern University, and Curry College. In 2012 Dr. Leavy left academia to focus her full-time efforts on her work as an author and public intellectual.
A prolific author, Dr. Leavy’s 35+ published books include: Low-Fat Love: 10th Anniversary Edition (Paper Stars Press, 2021), Supernova (2021, Brill/Sense), Constellations (Brill/Sense, 2021), Twinkle (Brill/Sense, 2020); Shooting Stars (Brill/Sense, 2020); Candy Floss Collection (3 novels) (Brill/Sense, 2020); The Oxford Handbook of Methods for Public Scholarship (Oxford University Press, 2019); The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (Oxford University Press, 2014; 2020); Film (Brill/Sense, 2019); Spark (Guilford Press, 2019); Privilege Through the Looking-Glass (Sense Publishers, 2018); Handbook of Arts-Based Research (Guilford Press, 2018), Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed Methods, Arts-Based, and Community-Based Participatory Research Approaches (Guilford Press, 2017); Low-Fat Love Stories, co-authored, (Sense Publishers, 2017); Blue (Sense Publishers, 2016); The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (Oxford University Press, 2014); Gender & Pop Culture: A Text Reader, co-edited (Sense Publishers, 2014); American Circumstance (Sense Publishers, 2013; 2016); Fiction as Research Practice: Novels, Novellas and Short Stories (Left Coast Press, 2013); Low-Fat Love (Sense Publishers, 2011; 2015); Essentials of Transdisciplinary Research: Using Problem-Centered Methodologies (Left Coast Press, 2011); Oral History: Understanding Qualitative Research (Oxford University, 2011); The Practice of Qualitative Research, , co-authored (Sage Publications, 2005; 2011); Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice (Guilford Publications, 2009; 2015; 2020); Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations, co-edited (Brill Publishers 2008, & Haymarket Publishers, 2009; Handbook of Emergent Research Methods, co-edited (Guilford Publications, 2008); Iconic Events: Media, Politics, and Power in Retelling History (Lexington Books, 2007); Feminist Research Practice: A Primer, co-authored (Sage Publications, 2007); Emergent Methods in Social Research, co-edited (Sage Publications, 2006); The Practice of Qualitative Research, co-authored (Sage Publications, 2005); Approaches to Qualitative Research: A Reader on Theory and Practice, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2004).
In addition to her own writing, Dr. Leavy is widely recognized for her pioneering work creating innovative publishing opportunities for other scholars and artists, through the ten book series for which she has served as creator and series editor over the course of her career. The Social Fictions series she created, for which she served as editor for 10 years, is the first academic book series to solely publish full-length literary works. The ground-breaking series received global attention, earned a national creativity award, and produced many award-winning and best-selling titles under Dr. Leavy’s tenure as editor and creative visionary.
A vocal advocate of public scholarship, Dr. Leavy has appeared on national news, radio, and is regularly quoted by the print and online news media (for example, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today). She is also routinely interviewed about her work by popular and scholarly media. She has blogged for The Huffington Post, The Creativity Post, We Are the Real Deal, and other outlets.
Dr. Leavy’s works have garnered a slew of book awards. Recently, her novel Shooting Stars won the 2021 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite Contemporary Novel. Her novel Film won the 2021 NYC Big Book Award Chick-Lit, the 2021 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite Chick-Lit/Women’s Fiction, and the 2020 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction. Candy Floss Collection won 2021 NYC Big Book Award and the 2020 American Fiction Award for Anthologies. Her novel Spark won the 2021 National Indie Excellence Award for New Adult Fiction, the 2019 American Fiction Award for Inspirational Fiction and that same year won The Living Now Book Award for Adventure Fiction. Privilege Through the Looking-Glass earned a 2018 USA Best Book Award in the category Anthologies– Nonfiction and Handbook of Arts-Based Research earned a 2018 USA Best Book Award in the category Education/Academic. This is just a sampling of the book awards she has received. Her books have also been honored as book award finalists more than 30 times.
She has also received numerous career awards. In recognition of her significant contributions to the discipline of sociology The New England Sociological Association named Dr. Leavy the 2010 New England Sociologist of the Year. Dr. Leavy received a 2014 Special Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association which honors creativity and innovation in every field. The Special Achievement award recognizes her extraordinary work advancing arts-based research and the ground-breaking Social Fictions series. Arts-based scholars from all over the world, including many of the Social Fictions authors, sent in letters of support calling Dr. Leavy “a visionary” and the Social Fictions series “a watershed moment in the academy.” In 2015 Dr. Leavy was announced as the youngest recipient of the Special Career Award given by the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The award recognizes her entire body of work, and particularly honors her advancement of qualitative and arts-based research. In that same year Dr. Leavy was also honored with the Egon Guba Memorial Lecture Award by the Qualitative Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women’s empowerment platform, named Dr. Leavy an “Influencer” alongside Chelsea Clinton, musician Melissa Etheridge, fashion editor Nina Garcia, and other notable women. In 2018 she received the Distinguished Contributions Outside of the Profession Award from the National Art Education Association, the Division D Significant Contribution to Educational Measurement and Methodology Award from the American Educational Research Association, and was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2018 SUNY-New Paltz established “The Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” They presented Dr. Leavy with a plaque honoring her pioneering work and then gave the inaugural award to a student. In 2021 she launched Paper Stars Press, her own publishing imprint.