Adrian Nicole LeBlanc was born in 1964 and grew up in the working-class town of Leominster, Massachusetts. Her father was a union organizer, and her mother worked as fiscal coordinator at a substance abuse treatment center. Her parents encouraged her to obtain a college education.
After studying in the United States and Great Britain, she received a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College, a Masterís in Philosophy and Modern Literature from Oxford, and a Master of Law Studies from Yale University. In the 1990s she worked as an editor for Seventeen Magazine and began working as guest lecturer for non-fiction prose at several universities, including Yale, Boston University and Columbia. Adrian Nicole LeBlancís debut, Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx was published in 2002 (an interview about the book in Atlantic Monthly). The book won the Borders Original Voices Award for Nonfiction, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was chosen by the New York Times Book Review editors as one of the top nine books of the year. Random Family chronicles the struggles of an impoverished extended family in New York. Adrian Nicole LeBlancís research into these realities was extensive and took her more than ten years. She was present at prison visits, welfare appointments, and parent-teacher conferences. She absolved a Masterís program in law at Yale in order to understand her subjectís trials. After completing the book she is now considering a follow-up project on some of the children in the book.
LeBlancís text Falling won second place in the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism, was the Esquire Magazine nominee for the National Magazine Award, finalist for the 1995 Livingston Award and 1995 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism. She has been a Knight Foundation Fellow at Yale Law School and a Fellow at Radcliffeís Bunting Institute. Previously published stories and features include Gang Girl: When Mannyís Locked-Up (August, 1994), which was nominated for the George Polk Journalism Award, When the Man of the House is in the Big House (Cover, January, 2003), Landing From the Sky (The New Yorker, April 23, 2000), which was included in the collection The New Gilded Age (Random House, 2000). The Centre on Crime, Communities, and Culture of the Open Society Institute awarded her a 2001 Media Fellowship.
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and other journals and is currently visiting scholar at the New York University School of Journalism.
She has been a New Yorker since 1989 and now lives in Manhattan.