Book Prize Recipient, 2005

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx began as a story for Rolling Stone about the trial of a 20-year-old drug dealer named Boy George. In the courtroom, LeBlanc met Boy George’s girlfriend, Jessica. For the next ten years, Jessica, her extended family and friends became the heart of LeBlanc’s life.

She chronicles that decade in Random Family, a haunting account of the day-to-day realities of urban poverty. This contemporary classic of immersion journalism has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “a nonfiction Middlemarch of the underclass.”

LeBlanc is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Esquire and The Village Voice, among others. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Smith College, a master’s of philosophy and modern literature from Oxford University, a master’s of law studies from Yale Law School and was a visiting scholar at the New York University School of Journalism. She also currently teaches at Columbia University.

LeBlanc has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Bunting Fellowship from Radcliffe, a MacDowell Colony residency, and a Soros Media Fellowship from the Open Society Institute.

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