Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and Scrappin' Upstate Reception

Scrappin’ Upstate Artist Reception, with Brenda Ann Kenneally and Upstate Girls, 6:00 p.m.
Presentation by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, 7:00 p.m.

Narrative journalist  Adrian Nicole LeBlanc will explore the issues addressed in Scrappin’ Upstate, and the vital role of independent journalism, with a focus on marginalized members of society: adolescents living in poverty, prostitutes, women in prison, etc.

LeBlanc will respond to questions by photo journalist Brenda Ann Kenneally about the current Sanctuary exhibit, “Scrappin’ Upstate.” One of the central families in her book Random Family are residents of North Troy, and a focus of Upstate Girls. When Random Family was selected to be excerpted in the N.Y. Times Magazine, the N.Y. Times assigned Kenneally the task of photographing the people that LeBlanc had documented through her ten-year reportage.  This marks the beginning of Brenda Ann Kenneally’s Upstate Girls project.

LeBlanc wrote the forward for photo journalist Brenda Ann Kenneally’s book Money, Power, Respect, Kenneally’s very personal and powerful survey of community life in Bushwick, Brooklyn.Money Power Respect In the forward, journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc warns: “This isn’t a street book. These aren’t photographs of the extremes of the ghetto environment observed.” Rather this is an inside look behind the blinds at the daily routines in an ordinary suburb. 

Narrative journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is a prolific author of magazine and newspaper articles, many on the effects of poverty on adolescents, LeBlanc redefined immersion reporting in Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx. 

The result of a decade spent closely involved in the lives of her subjects, this ten-year odyssey stretches the very fabric of long-form nonfiction and demonstrates LeBlanc’s mastery as observer of human character.  Her haunting study enables readers to inhabit the daily chaos and brutal violence of a community in an impoverished Bronx neighborhood, revealing its inner workings and creating an intimate chronicle of urban poverty.  It is an original, surprising, and unsettling work of nonfiction that helps readers see and value the humanity in even the poorest lives and to find meaning, as do LeBlanc’s subjects, in the most ordinary moments.  Her current project, an investigation of the world of stand-up comedians, also explores lives at the margin and delves into the distinctive realities of the comic underworld and the characters that inhabit it.  With an eye for detail and a passion for depth, Adrian LeBlanc is forging a new form of literary reportage and illuminating worlds little known and less understood.

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc grew up in a working class family in Leominster, Massachusetts.  She received a B.A. (1986) in sociology from Smith College, an M.A. (1988) in philosophy and modern literature from the University of Oxford, and an M.A. (1993) in law studies from Yale University Law School. 

Prior to devoting herself to the project that became Random Family, she was the fiction editor of Seventeen magazine (1988-1992).  She has been a member of the adjunct faculty of Columbia University’s School of Journalism (2005) and is currently a visiting scholar at New York University’s School of Journalism.  Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Esquire, and the Village Voice, among others.

LeBlanc is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, 2006.  She was a Holtzbrink Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, for Spring 2009. She is a Visiting Scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University 2009-2010. She will be part of the Harmon Writer-in-Residence Program at Baruch College in Spring 2011.  She currently lives in Manhattan.