Latest from the Blog

Historic Sales & More

HISTORIC SALES, AWARD NOMINATIONS, AND MORE. My mind is blown. I am so grateful, humbled and energized. It’s been a really exciting time and I have lots of good news to share.

With approximately a thousand books in their catalogue, Sense Publishers is the fastest-growing international publisher of books in educational research, and I am proud to work with them. I recently received news of historic book sales for Sense, and I am overjoyed. My three books with Sense — Low-Fat Love (2011), American Circumstance (2013), and Gender & Pop Culture (2014, edited with Adrienne Trier-Bieniek)– have broken several records and made sales history. Records broken:

• all three titles are among Sense’s best-sellers for 2014– no other Sense author or editor has had simultaneous best-sellers
• all three are among the top five sellers of the year (with two holding the top two slots)
• all three are among Sense’s best-selling titles of all time
Low-Fat Love is Sense’s #1 selling title of all time
• If Low-Fat Love drops to the #2 position, it will be succeeded by another one of my titles

It’s important for me to embrace this moment because in reality, many people work on a book and this success belongs to each and every one of them. The author may be team captain, but books happen because of team efforts. My thanks to everyone at Sense Publishers, my colleagues and collaborators, reviewers, my incredible assistant Shalen Lowell and my amazing writing buddy, Celine Boyle. I am profoundly grateful to the readers and professors who have taken a chance on these books. Thank you!

My work with Sense continues not just as an author, but also a series editor, creating spaces for others to publish their work. I am thrilled that in 2014 the Social Fictions series continued to see rapid growth, releasing and signing new books. My little labor of love is Sense’s most popular and fastest-growing series. We also released two new titles in the Teaching Gender series, launched the Teaching Race & Ethnicity series and created the forthcoming Teaching Writing series. I look forward to working with authors signed to these series and assisting them as they make their visions reality.

A professional highlight of 2014 was receiving the Special Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association in recognition of my work advancing arts-based research. I was humbled to receive that award as a representative of the arts-based research community. I am grateful that ACA chose to recognize arts-based research in this way and I appreciate their acknowledgement of the Social Fictions series as “ground-breaking.” I recently learned that I have been nominated for 4 2015 AERA awards. Nominations:

• The Tom Barone award for Arts-Based Educational Research
• The Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research in Education Award
Fiction as Research Practice, Division D Methodology Award, lifetime achievement in qualitative research
The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research, Outstanding Qualitative Book of the Year

There are so many who ought to have their work recognized and I am deeply honored to be included. To those who have written letters on my behalf, I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. So touching. Thank you!

Adrienne Trier Bieniek and I are also delighted that our book Gender & Pop Culture has been nominated for the “Best Edited Volume 2015 Award” given by the Popular Culture and American Culture Associations. Thank you to the contributors and early reviewers!

For me, much of 2014 has been about revision. In January 2015 Guilford Press and I are delighted to be releasing Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research, the Second Edition. People have been asking me to write a new edition for a while. I finally felt the time was right. My experiences over the past few years, particularly travelling to speak about arts-based research, have shown me the incredible growth in the field. I have thoroughly revised the book and I think it is much stronger. In the new edition I pay significant attention to public scholarship, issues of audience and I have new features including coverage of fiction as a method, film and a whole chapter devoted to evaluation criteria. The new edition is already available for pre-order and you can read advance praise as well. I must say, I am overwhelmed by the sea of love ushering this new edition out into the world. Deep gratitude to the scholars who have offered endorsements.

I am also tickled to be releasing Low-Fat Love: The Expanded Anniversary Edition in early 2015, a year earlier than initially planned thanks to reader interest. I have worked hard to refine the novel and add bonus content including an afterword, answers to questions posed by readers around the world, ideas for classroom use, and more. For me, this anniversary edition is a love letter to readers who embraced the original and new readers who may discover it for the first time. We will get it out before Valentine’s Day.

I learned so much in 2014 through the art of going back and revising. Now it is time to move forward, explore new directions and push myself intellectually and artistically. I have several book projects in the hopper including the most challenging nonfiction book I have ever taken on, an inspiring collaboration with a visual artist, an edited volume, and more. I need to keep some of the details private for now… it’s a moment when I need to crawl into a private writing hole and nurture the work.

2014 has been an extraordinary year. I am looking forward to 2015– releasing two second editions, conference travel, speaking engagements and lots and lots of writing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your interest and support. I am so grateful. To my fellow ABR warriors, this is an exciting time for all of us– the field is just starting take off. Stay tuned for some surprises next year. #SecretBookProjects

Love and Light,

Creativity Award

I am honored to share that I accepted my Special Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association on September 12th at their annual conference in Philadelphia. It was such a joyful and humbling experience. They said my award was for “special and extraordinary advancement of arts-based research and the ground-breaking Social Fictions series.”

I promised to share the details so here you go. As I approached the podium to accept the award I made a concerted effort to think about every graduate student or early career researcher who evACA awardser told me about how they feel unsupported at their institution or afraid or unable to do the work they want to do. I tried to channel the energy of the moment to them. This was my acceptance speech:

“Thank you to the American Creativity Association for this honor and for all of the wonderful work you do promoting innovation across the disciplines. I am happy to accept this award as a representative of the arts-based research community and on behalf of the Social Fictions authors, my publishing partners, and creative researchers everywhere. And to those working on the margins or trying to change what the margins are, keep going. Thank you so much!”

For me, the greatest joy in this lovely acknowledgement from the ACA is that it shines a spotlight on arts-based research, further legitimizing the field. I was truly honored to accept the award in that spirit.

I want to extend my appreciation to all those in the media who have taken the time to talk with me about the award, arts-based research and the Social Fictions series. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share more about ABR with different communities. Of course I am honored for any chance to highlight the Social Fictions series that I am so proud of. The Social Fictions series is a group effort and I extend much gratitude to the authors and the entire team at Sense Publishers, led by the fearless Peter de Liefde. This has been a labor of love for us all.

It’s difficult to keep up with all of the press but here are a few of the interviews I have given and profiles that have been published to date.

I also need to extend a huge thank-you to Shalen Lowell, assistant extraordinaire. Without her tireless efforts behind the scenes none of this would be possible.

To ABR warriors everywhere, please take this recognition as validation of the path-breaking work you are doing. But there is much more to do as we carve new paths, build knowledge in new shapes, expose false polarizations between ways of knowing, and expand existing publishing and funding structures. So, we best get to it. Thank you for your support on this journey and please know I stand with you too. Oh, and did I mention that I have some exciting new projects in the works? More soon…

Love and Light,

Special Achievement Award

Wow! BLOWN AWAY. I am overwhelmingly honored to learn that the American Creativity Association is awarding me a 2014 Special Achievement Award for my work advancing arts-based research and for the Social Fictions series. I am overjoyed that our series is being called “ground-breaking” and representative of “a watershed moment in the academy.” This recognition means so much to me and I hope serves as a beacon of hope for arts-based researchers around the world.

The American Creativity Association in a national, transdisciplinary organization that recognizes creativity and innovation in all fields including medicine, business, technology, education, journalism, and so forth. The ACA has honored pioneers in creativity including: Jack S. Kilby (inventor of the microchip), Earl Bakken (inventor of the first wearable heart pacemaker), John Glenn (astronaut, first American to orbit the earth), Morris I. Stein (one of the founders of creativity research), Ann Medlock (award-winning journalist and founder of the Giraffe Heroes Project), and many others. The ACA has also honored groundbreaking corporations including the LEGO Group and Pixar Animation Studios. Obviously to be amongst those honored by the ACA is indescribably humbling. It’s funny too because quite recently I was asked in an interview what I am most drawn to in others and my response was “creativity.” Little did I know I would be receiving such a generous and humbling award all about creativity. It’s lovely beyond words. Truly, I can’t imagine any honor that could mean more to me.

For the American Creativity Association to recognize arts-based research in this public manner, I believe, is an enormous victory for the ABR community. It isn’t always easy doing this work. It can be difficult competing for funding when some funding sources are set up to support work conducted only from other research paradigms and thus arts-based work is often too easily dismissed. It can be equally difficult to get the work published or otherwise disseminated, as new formats require new ways of marketing. And often our work is put under a microscope for intense scrutiny. So to the countless researchers and students I have met travelling all over and speaking about ABR, to those I have chatted with in corridors at conferences, and those who have emailed me, please take this national recognition for the work we do as validation. It takes time to forge new pathways, resistance is a part of the package, but this award is meaningful to me because it shows the incredible headway we are making. Let’s enjoy it and make use of it. Arts-based research is a legitimate approach to knowledge-building and a necessary means for making the products of social research accessible to diverse and public audiences. There is a practical and ethical mandate for doing so. This award is much bigger than my own work. I am honored to serve as a representative of the ABR community and in September I will accept this award on behalf of arts-based researchers everywhere.

There are so many people to thank with whom I share this award.

I extend a spirited thank you to the entire Sense Publishing team for supporting innovative and creative works, including the Social Fictions series. Thank you to Peter de Liefde for taking a chance on the series and for your unfailing support. Thank you to Paul Chambers, marketing and sales guru, and my go-to guy. You two have done so much to support this work and I love working with you so much. Special shout-outs to Bernice Kelly, Jolanda Karada and Derrek de Liefde for all of your help with these books. I also want to thank the Social Fictions editorial board: Carl Bagley, Anna Banks, Carolyn Ellis, Rita Irwin, J. Gary Knowles and Laurel Richardson. I admire you each enormously as pioneers in the field of arts-based research and I thank you for adding your name and expertise to the series from the start. My heartfelt thanks to all of the Social Fictions authors as well. You are each so talented and I am honored to work with you. Any attention the series receives is a result of your creativity, talent and hard work. I am touched that so many wonderful scholars wrote letters on my behalf. Thank you to Robin P. Clair, Anne Harris, Carl Leggo, Lauren Sardi and Anita Sinner. I am told others wrote letters as well and I apologize sincerely if your name has been left out. Please email me to let me know so I can thank you properly.

I also extend a huge thank you to all of the publishers who have supported my arts-based and qualitative work. Thank you to C. Deborah Laughton, Seymour Weingarten, Bob Matloff, Paul Gordon and the entire group at Guilford Press. Thank you to Mitch Allen, Jan Morse and the entire team at Left Coast Press. Thank you to the wonderful team at Oxford University Press including Abby Gross, Anne Dellinger, Elizabeth Gorney and Ryan Cury.

I also thank my former colleagues in the Sociology & Criminology Department at Stonehill College for ten glorious years. Thank you to the Sociology Department at Boston College– attending graduate school in that department was one of the best things I ever did. And as always, thank you to Mr. Shuman, my high school English teacher– everyone needs at least one great teacher, I am so lucky that I had the most exceptional teacher of all.

This award recognizes, in part, my effort to get arts-based research into the public domain and thus I extend my thanks to those columnists, radio show hosts, Facebook groups, and bloggers who have interviewed me, written about my work and circulated my work. Special thank yous to Michelle Arana at, Milena Z. Fisher at The Creativity Post, and Robyn Hussa Farrell at Mental Fitness Inc./We Are The Real Deal. Thank you to Martin McGovern at Stonehill College for teaching me how to write op-eds and how to get media exposure.

To all those whose stories have been woven into my novels, thank you. I am blessed that so many have shared their stories with me, sometimes in interviews, and at other times, in heartfelt whispers in bookstore doorways or university hallways. I will continue to do my best to take in what you share, put it through my filter, and offer it up to others. And of course my novels are peopled by the ghosts of relationships past. Thank you to all those who haunt the pages– you have enriched my life.

I also thank all of my arts-based colleagues. To all those whose work I have cited, to those who have circulated my articles and op-eds, to those who have read or course adopted my books, to those who have sent me references, to those who have published their work in any of my book series, and to those with whom I have collaborated or shared a spirited exchange, I hope you know who you are, as my debt to you is great. A special thank you to my talented colleagues in creative arts therapies: Gioia Chilton, Nancy Gerber, Cathy Malchiodi and Victoria Scotti.

Finally, thank you to my daily support team. Shalen Lowell, thanks for being the best research assistant a gal could ask for. Monique Robitaille, thanks for helping me with the mind-body connection. Much gratitude to my local writing buddies and friends, especially Celine M. Boyle, for making me a better (and saner) writer. Tori Amos, thank you for the endless inspiration; not only does your music fuel my creative output, but you have taught me more than anyone about the “business” of it all. Last but never least, Mark and Madeline. You have both changed your lives and made enormous sacrifices to support my intellectual and creative pursuits. I couldn’t do it without you, and I wouldn’t want to. Much love and appreciation. Mark, you are the best partner anyone could have and none of this would be possible without you. I am more me with you, than I could ever be on my own. Madeline, a special note to you, my heart. Thank you for understanding that my work is a part of who I am, and for letting your mom live as a writer. In return, please know to your core that I will always support you as you carve your own path in this world, in any way you choose. Build the life you want to live– the possibilities are as grand as your imagination. I will always love and support you. xoxo

I am over the moon. So grateful and humbled. To my fellow ABR warriors, please know that I am also energized, inspired and fuelled. I look forward to continuing to forge new creative pathways with all of you. To it.

Love and Light,

Books, Columns, Travel

It’s been such an exciting time, there’s so much I’d like to reflect on. We’ve begun our trade campaign with full-page ads in feminist magazines to promote my novels American Circumstance and Low-Fat Love. It’s a thrill to see these research-based novels making their way further into the public domain. It’s also that time of year and I’ve just returned from some wonderful travel experiences. Talking to others about arts-based research is a great privilege and the ability to connect with people engaged in this work in different locations gives me a sense of the expanse and vibrancy of our community. Before I get to my travels I have some other news to share.

In my last blog I was thrilled to announce the release of my 15th book, Gender and Pop Culture: a Text Reader, co-edited with my colleague and friend Adrienne Trier-Bieniek (Sense Publishers, 2014). This book really represents a full circle moment for me, as it gave me an opportunity to document so much of what I had taught for more than a decade. I was honored to be interviewed by about the book. And yes, they did call me “the high priestess of pop-feminism” … giggle… which is a badge I will wear with honor. You can read that interview here:

I would also like to announce a new column I will be writing for creativitypost. I had reached out to creativitypost because I love what they’re doing. As you can imagine, I was absolutely honored that the founder and president, Milena Fisher, asked me to write a regular column about arts-based research. Certainly I welcome any opportunity to discuss these issues in the public domain. My column is titled Art, Research, Thought (Art): How Creative Researchers Are Bridging the Arts and Sciences. For my first two posts, creativitypost wanted to introduce me to their readers by reprinting one of my Huffington Post columns about using fiction to communicate research to public audiences, followed by an original interview. I asked author, filmmaker and fellow ABR warrior, Anne Harris of Monash University to interview me about arts-based research. Thank you to all those who read, “liked” and shared my posts. I am tickled that my first column has already become one of the most popular posts on creativitypost. In the future I plan to include original articles, conversations with others in the ABR community and perhaps additional interviews. My web team is busy updating my site so soon there will be a direct link to my new blog. For now, you can check out my profile at creativitypost and click on the column title to read the first two posts here:

While I’m thinking about creativity, I would love to share one of the most fun interviews I have ever done, all about inspiration and balance. From the way art inspires us to my best to talent to who would direct the movie-version of my life, I really enjoyed this. A huge thank you to the always wonderful Michelle Arana at examiner. You can read our interview here:

Finally, I’ve just returned from some incredible travel experiences that gave me a chance to talk about and teach arts-based research and to meet many students and practitioners in the field. First I attended the AERA conference in Philadelphia. I must say, with 14,000 people in attendance it was an absolute madhouse. I think it will take me some time to recover from the onslaught of stimulation! It was absolutely wonderful, however, to see the level of interest in arts-based research and arts-based educational research. I was honored to be a part of an ABR symposium with Candace Stout, Joe Norris and Kakali Bhattacharya. I admire these folks enormously and can say that we were thrilled with the reception we received, presenting our work in a packed, standing room only room filled with enthusiasts. Likewise, I had a fantastic time co-teaching a four hour workshop on arts-based research with Kakali. The participants were gracious and engaged and I learned so much from the experience. It was also my great joy to share drinks, meals and treasured conversation with my old friends in the ABR community, those I have long admired but never met, and many new friends. Thank you to all those who shared their time and talent with me. I would also like to note that I am often asked about what is most exciting in the ABR community and my time at AERA confirmed the answer that I always give: the work of innovative graduate students. My favorite session this year was conducted by two incredible young scholars who have written their dissertations as graphic novels. Wow! I couldn’t have been more impressed or more inspired. The way people are pushing on the bounds of our field is truly exciting.

A final highlight from AERA was seeing the pre-launch of the Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research, gift wrapped in my daughter’s magnificent original art. I first discussed the possibility of editing this handbook exactly 6 years prior at AERA so this was the ultimate in full circle moments. Oxford University Press did an incredible job getting advance copies of the handbook to the conference and gloriously displaying it. I am so proud of the work that the contributors did and was elated to learn that the handbook is off to a smashing start. Thank you all for your interest in this work! The handbook doesn’t officially launch until May, so I will have more to say on this subject soon. For now, a huge thank you to my wonderful editor Abby Gross, the entire Oxford University Press team and all those who contributed to the handbook.

I flew straight from Philadelphia to Toronto where I was honored to give a lecture on arts-based research at the University of Toronto. In my presentation I talked about building research “in new shapes” so that we can engage new, diverse and public audiences with the products of social research. I couldn’t have been greeted more warmly. Following my talk I was invited to say a few words at the launch of Tara Goldstein’s book Zero Tolerance and Other Plays, which is a collection of three plays recently published in the Social Fictions series. I was overjoyed to be a part of the launch of this groundbreaking book and absolutely delighted to see a performance of two scenes from the lead play. Everyone involved with this event did an outstanding job and my hat is off to them. I want to extend a very special thank you to Tara Goldstein for taking such good care of me and to her colleagues and graduate students for making my stay so special. As was the case at AERA, I left Toronto incredibly inspired by the path-breaking work of graduate students who are using ABR in filmmaking with social justice messages, research with children about identity and community, and transdisciplinary collaborations involving the use of theatre in health studies, and so much more. I am truly blessed because not only do individuals take the time to share their arts-based projects with me but in doing so I gain a greater understanding of the whole of which we are each part. And I can tell you all, it is truly mind blowing.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds and I thank you for coming along for the ride. Oh, and of course I met with my wonderful publishers on this trip and I have some very exciting news regarding new projects forthcoming…

Love and Light,


2014 Releases & Interviews

It’s been an incredibly busy and exciting year so far and I’m happy to have a moment to share some of the highlights. I’ve just released a new book, done some interviews, published a new op-ed and we had our first simultaneous double release in the Social Fictions series. Such a great start to the year!

I am thrilled to announce the release of my 15th book, Gender & Pop Culture: A Text-Reader (edited with my friend and colleague Dr. Adrienne Trier-Bieniek). It feels like a milestone to be 15 books into my career and I’m glad the book in that slot is explicitly feminist. That feels right to me, and important. This book came at just the right time. I left teaching after more than a dozen years, ten at my last institution, and while it was definitely the right time for me to move on and focus exclusively on publishing, leaving the teaching profession was a big change. Gender & Pop Culture became a chance to document some of the main messages from my classes. It became sort of full circle for me to publish this book at this time. I’m contented to know that now some of the messages of my teaching will continue to live in college classrooms through this book. Adrienne, the contributors and I worked hard on this project and couldn’t be happier with the result. We’re deeply honored to have received advance praise from gender and media studies royalty, Jackson Katz, Jean Kilbourne, Sut Jhally, Lisa Wade and Anne Harris. You can read their words and more about the book here (Sense is offering free shipping during the release period if you buy it directly from their website):

In recent years I’ve also been interviewed as a regular part of my work life. I feel so fortunate to have the chance to speak about writing, arts-based research and my own books. I find that as I share my experiences I also reflect and learn. Here are some the interviews from the beginning of this year that have been especially rewarding.

As a part of an interview I did about how I translate women’s real stories into fiction, We Are The Real Deal, posted a lovely review of American Circumstance which truly made my heart sing. It read in part: “There is a timelessness and timeliness in the writing. The strong bonds painted between friends, lovers and caretakers give it a feeling of long-lasting relevance while simultaneously the attention to social class, the one percent, and even hints at global inequality (including human trafficking) make one think Leavy is very much chronicling how gender and social class intersect at this moment in history, from her perspective as an American woman. In some ways it’s like a contemporary, chick-lit version of The Great Gatsby but from a woman’s perspective and told through female characters that are never quite as they appear.” You can read my interview about women’s stories and fiction here:

As a part of my series of exclusive author interviews with examiner I did a 20 questions author interview. I loved having a chance to pay tribute to authors and other artists who have influenced and inspired me, explain why American Circumstance is my personal favorite of my books, and so much more, even sharing some secrets. You can read the full interview here:

That interview was so much fun that I agreed to do a 20 questions about being a series editor. My hope is the interview will be of value to other writers and editors. We covered a lot of ground, from sharing how I approach building a book series to the most common mistake authors make. Here’s that  interview:

The editor of The Sociological Imagination invited me back for a follow-up interview on arts-based research and public scholarship. I’m always grateful for opportunities to talk about the vitality of the arts in social research and our need to find ways to make research accessible. You can read that interview here:

As you may know, I regularly write for the Huffington Post and I usually just share those pieces on my “in the media” links page. In honor of Valentine’s Day I wrote a piece about the top 10 ways women settle for low-fat love and I received so many emails that I wanted to extend a heartfelt and public thank you to the many women and men who sent thank you notes or shared their experiences with me. I am deeply touched when my work carries meaning for others and I’m delighted this piece provided food for thought. You can read it here:

Finally, another major highlight of 2014 so far has been the first double-release in the Social Fictions series. We released October Birds: A Novel about Pandemic Influenza, Infection Control, and First Responders by Jessica Smartt Gullion and Heartland: A Historical Drama about the Internment of German-Americans in the United States during World War II by Lojo Simon and Anita Simons over a two day period. This double release is very special for all of those involved in the Social Fictions series. Most didn’t think it was even possible to publish the products of arts-based research and now here we are, with our series thriving. It’s lovely that the double release includes both a novel and a play, showing the vitality in different genres for communicating social research to broad audiences. These two very different books also share a commonality: how people respond to fear. I love these books and applaud their authors. You can get more information or order the books here (Sense is offering free shipping on these titles for their release if you order directly from their website):

2014 is looking to be an incredibly busy and exciting year. I look forward to the promise and possibility. Thanks for coming along.

Love and Light,


Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m so excited to start 2014. This is going to be a busy year. I think it’s a good time for a brief look back and forward.

Last year was a special year as I released my novel, American Circumstance, which was a true labor of love. The response so far has been incredible and I am so touched. I also released Fiction as Research Practice in 2013. I’m so proud of that book, which I believe is the first of its kind. I hope the book is of value to scholars, artists and writers, who are blurring boundaries and trying to engage new audiences with their work. 2013 was also a busy year in terms of travel. I was fortunate to speak at various universities in North America and at international conferences in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Thank you to everyone who has invited me to their campus or event and to all those who came to hear my talks and join in conversations together. I was fuelled by our conversations. 2013 was also a big year as I expanded my partnership with Sense Publishers. I am now editing 3 book series for Sense and I look forward to our continued work together. Finally, I want to thank everyone who interviewed me last year with a special nod to Michelle Arana at The Examiner for her ongoing exclusive series of author interviews with me.

Looking forward 2014 is filled with promise. In the next couple of months I look forward to releasing two new books. First, my co-edited volume with my friend and colleague Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, Gender & Pop Culture: A Text-Reader, will be released by Sense later this winter. This book was a wonderful collaborative experience that afforded me an opportunity to document what I spent more than a decade teaching. I’m thrilled with the end result and delighted that we have received advance praise from Jean Kilbourne, Lisa Wade, Anne Harris and others. In April Oxford University Press will release the edited volume I have been working on for years: The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research. The collection is a part of their impressive Oxford Library of Psychology and I am eager to finally be able to share this collection with others. I was honored to be invited to edit this book and even more so when established and emerging leaders in the field agreed to write chapters. My daughter Madeline Leavy-Rosen’s original art adorns the cover of the handbook which is the cherry on the sundae. I couldn’t be more pleased with the handbook we have all worked so hard on.

My primary work in 2014 will be to continue to promote American Circumstance (my personal favorite of my books). A mini book tour in New England is in the works so fingers and toes crossed that the scheduling works out. We’re also launching a trade promotion with BITCH magazine and BUST magazine– both outstanding feminist publications I am delighted to be associated with. In honor of our trade campaign Sense has reduced the price of American Circumstance and Low-Fat Love to $15 for all of 2014. I am thrilled this will give more people a chance to read these books (go to amazon). This year I will also be completing the second edition of Method Meets Art for Guilford Press. The process of revising this book has been surprisingly rewarding and I look forward to sharing the result. I will also be busy on a new book methods book for Guilford which is giving me a chance to work with my long-time friend and colleague, editor extraordinaire C. Deborah Laughton (AKA: the woman who launched my career). Several other book projects are in the works (but I have to save something to share later). I also look forward to continuing to grow my book series and to many new launches this year. Finally, I plan to continue to do all I can to promote arts-based research and public scholarship. Toward that end I will continue to speak at conferences and write op-eds on these topics. I also already have busy interview schedule lined up. I’ll share those stories as they’re released. In that spirit here is my first published interview in 2014 with The Sociological Imagination (it focuses on arts-based research, the Social Fictions series and public scholarship).

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support and interest in my work. I look forward to a great year and wish the same for you.

Love and Light,


American Circumstance

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for the amazing and heartwarming response to American Circumstance and to offer a special end of 2013 discount for new readers. I never publicly pick “favorites” among my work because it’s like deciding which child you love best. But I have made an exception in the case of American Circumstance which I have said many times, is my personal favorite of my work.

American Circumstance centers on a theme I think I have been obsessed with for many years: appearance versus reality. In essence the book explores how our lives and relationships look, versus how we experience them. Layered into the book are narratives about social class, power, privilege and gender inequality on a global scale. However, this is very much a book about friendship, hope, and learning to understand and accept those we love. As in all of my work, the role of the arts in our lives also creeps through the pages. Writing this book brought me great joy and I am so proud to be able to share it with others. I must again thank my local writing group and especially my weekly writing buddy, Celine Boyle, for all of their guidance as I wrote the book. As always, a huge thank you to Peter de Liefde, Paul Chambers and the entire Sense Publishing team for supporting my work and creative expression more broadly.

I have had so much fun Skyping into classes and chatting with college students who have read the book– great questions and energy. Thank you to the professors using the book for a springboard for reflection and conversation. I have been deeply touched by lovely comments from readers, book clubs and colleagues and profoundly honored by the award nominations the book has received. I am tickled by messages from women saying they plan to give it to their friends as a holiday gift– nothing could warm my heart more. I am also so proud to share the following endorsements by scholars and writers I greatly admire:

American Circumstance kept me up! I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to see how the characters’ lives untangled.  I loved how Leavy challenged my cultural assumptions. This book would be great to teach. Students will have a lot to talk about as they discover a ‘sociology of everyday life’ embedded in the fiction.” — Professor Laurel Richardson, The Ohio State University

“This one is a real page-turner. Just when you think you know what’s going on, it turns out that events aren’t at all what they seem.” — Professor Eve Spangler, Boston College

“Recently, I read Patricia Leavy’s novel American Circumstance. It is wonderful! The characters and story invite you into a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. While many urgent social issues are raised for thoughtful consideration, the heart of the novel pulses with the experiences and emotions of three women who, while marked by many differences, all share a commitment to living hopefully in love. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole novel–from the first inviting words to the exquisitely poignant conclusion. Highly recommended!!” — Professor and Poet, Carl Leggo, University of British Columbia

American Circumstance had me hooked from page one.  Patricia Leavy creates a compelling, enthralling world that beautifully illustrates what real love and partnership truly is while challenging our assumptions and pushing us to look at our own relationships.  Expertly crafted and engagingly drawn.  Pick this book up!” – Amy Leigh Mercree, Relationship Expert and author of The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex & Soul Mates

I am also honored that to date American Circumstance has been nominated for the following awards:

  • PEN/Faulkner Award  for Fiction 2014
  • The Mirra Komarovsky Award  for the Outstanding Sociology Book of the Year 2014 sponsored by the Eastern Sociological Society
  • The Emily Toth Award for the Best Single Work In Women’s Studies by One or More Authors 2014 sponsored by the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association
  • Outstanding Qualitative Book of the Year 2014 sponsored by the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

If you haven’t had the chance to pick up American Circumstance yet Sense is delighted to offer 15% off and FREE SHIPPING for the rest of 2013. Use promo code 24601 at to buy the book at the discounted price. I hope it will make for good winter vacation reading or a holiday gift for loved ones.

Thank you.

Love and Light,


Fiction & Research

This is a very exciting time for proponents of fiction as a research and teaching tool. Just a few days ago yet another scientific study revealed the unique effects fiction has on us. Two psychologists at the New School conducted five experiments comparing the effects of reading literary nonfiction, popular fiction, nonfiction and reading nothing at all. Reading literary nonfiction increased participants’ emotional intelligence, self-awareness, empathy and more. I was not surprised as this study affirms what those of us using fiction as a research tool understand to be so. I was delighted to see this groundbreaking study, published in the journal Science, get so much public attention (from the New York Times on)

For me, it has been clear for a long time that fiction has great potential as a research tool across the disciplines. In my book Fiction as Research Practice I call this “fiction-based research” an adaptation of the term arts-based research. I can say that my experiences publishing nonfiction academic articles based on interview research with women about their relationships, body image and identity struggles as compared with my experience publishing two novels loosely based on those same interviews, have forever changed the way I see fiction and research. Through the novels I have been able to reach broad audiences– research shouldn’t circulate among a few “experts” but should be available to the public. The reactions to the novels have also been very revealing– people connect with the characters, develop empathy, experience emotional responses and ultimately engage in self-reflection (often sharing or critically examining their own experiences), and many engage in social reflection too, considering how our culture shapes us.

I was recently interviewed by Michelle Arana of about Fiction as Research Practice and you can read that interview here:

One thing that I rarely hear discussed is the impact of writing fiction-based research on authors. For me, it has been indescribably rewarding. Seeing the impact the fiction has had on others and learning how they use it as a springboard for reflection in their own lives has been extraordinary. Since Low-Fat Love and American Circumstance came out I have also had many people email me, stop be in hallways after presentations or come see me at book signings to tell me their own stories, brought forth by one of the novels. I believe this has all made me more sensitive to the stories of others similarly to how Carolyn Ellis has explained writing autoethnographically about her own life has made her more sensitive to the stories of others (which she talks about as “relational ethics”). Finally, the joy I have experienced during the writing process and also the process of sharing the writing with others, has affirmed for me the important role of pleasure in our work lives. Off to write… aka: have some fun.

Love and Light,


The Social Fictions Series

It’s been an exciting time for the Social Fictions series. I am so honored to share that I have been nominated for a Special Achievement Award given by the American Creativity Association, in recognition of my work advancing arts-based research in the public domain and for the Social Fictions series. A heartfelt thank you to the series authors and colleagues who wrote letters on my behalf. I am elated that the series is receiving this kind of attention.  The Social Fictions series is the first of its kind and emerged out of the arts-based research movement. All of the series books are written in literary forms but based on research and teaching experiences.  Always wanting to expand the bounds, our latest release is our first foray into creative nonfiction. Unfolding the Unexpectedness of Uncertainty: Creative Nonfiction and the Lives of Becoming Teachers by Dr. Anita Sinner is a beautiful book that presents the stories if three women as they became art teachers over their certification year. Anita was interviewed about the book and I was very touched by her words:

“Through this series, Patricia Leavy, Series Editor, has created a space alongside traditional academic texts that is uniquely original, recognizing and promoting the vitality and validity of creative expression as research, and how the literary arts represent research-creation. Patricia Leavy’s pioneering efforts are reshaping, redefining and revitalizing the scholarly landscape by pushing the boundaries of the concept of research and knowledge production. Each book in the Social Fiction series increases our understandings by bringing storytelling to the fore. Such interpretative and imaginative practice is at the heart of the Social Fiction series, highlighting why this series represents a key contribution to knowledge mobilization and dissemination beyond the academy.”

You can read her full interview here which includes a link to the book’s webpage:

Sense Publishers was also profiled by and owner Peter de Liefde announced that my novel Low-Fat Love, the launch book in the Social Fictions series, is their top selling title to date. Wow! I am deeply humbled and honored. That book was a labor of love and I am grateful that readers have found the book. I continue to receive emails and notes from new readers, who often share their own stories of low-fat love. I’m so touched that the book has resonated and readers have used it as a springboard for self-reflection. You can read Peter de Liefde’s interview here:

I am in the midst of promoting my second novel in the series, American Circumstance, which I must confess is my personal favorite of my books. I want to thank the radio hosts who have invited me on their programs. Looks like the next couple of weeks will be busy. I am thrilled that American Circumstance has already received book award nominations, both fiction and scholarly, and I am honored to announce that Sense has contracted me to release an expanded anniversary edition of the book in 2017. More details forthcoming.

With all of the momentum our series is gaining Sense recently put a spotlight in the series with the following press release:

I am so proud of the Social Fictions series and grateful for my creative partnership with Sense Publishers. I look forward to growing the series, expanding my partnership with Sense, talking more about American Circumstance, and sharing more details about my upcoming books.

Love and Light,


Method Meets Art Interview

As a part of the series of author interviews I am doing with columnist, Michelle Arana, we did an exclusive interview about Method Meets Art. For me, this was a special interview. Method Meets Art is probably the book I am best known for and it certainly was a labor of love and career-turning point for me, so it was an honor to have a chance to look back and talk about the book in the larger context of growth in the arts-based research movement.  The timing was also serendipitous. The interview was planned before Guilford asked me to write a second edition of MMA. So it’s fair to say this book is front and center on my mind. In the interview as I share some of my hopes and concerns for the arts-based community, highlighting the need for leaders in the field to work together to continue to increase the legitimacy and momentum of our work. If we do this, the result will be greater than the sum of our individual works. You can read the full interview here:

In honor of the interview and in celebration of the upcoming new edition, Guilford is offering 25% off Method Meets Art if you buy it directly from the publisher and use promo code BF6.

Love and Light,