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. A prolific author, Dr. Leavy has published over 40 books.
She has earned critical and commercial success in both nonfiction and fiction, and her work has been translated into numerous languages. Dr. Leavy’s works have garnered a slew of book awards including USA Best Book Awards, Independent Press Awards, International Impact Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, International Book Awards, New York City Big Book Awards, and American Fiction Awards.
Recently, Celestial Bodies: The Tess Lee and Jack Miller Novels was the 2022 Firebird Awards first-place winner for Romance.
On the academic side, Dr. Leavy earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College in 2002. She 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.
Dr. Leavy serves on the advisory board for the Arts and Humanities in Medicine Program at The University of Maine.
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 for Oxford University Press, Guilford Press, and Brill/Sense. The Social Fictions series she created, for which she served as editor for 10 years, is the first and only 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. In 2021 she launched Paper Stars Press, her own publishing imprint.
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 has 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 2022 Dr. Leavy received the Outstanding Arts and Learning Award from the American Educational Research Association.