Readers,

Longform.org is shutting down its article recommendations service. (The Longform Podcast will continue to publish new episodes weekly.)

We started the site in April 2010 on a whim. Since then, we have recommended more than 10,000 pieces of nonfiction. It has been immensely gratifying to watch millions of readers enjoying the work of our favorite writers.

Thank you to Longform.org's contributing editors, its supporters, and the publications, writers, and readers who made it all possible. We will miss you.

-Max Linsky & Aaron Lammer, founders



Alexandra Lange is a design critic whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and many other publications. Her new book is Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall.

“I really like to write about things that I can hold and experience. I'm not that interested in biography, but I am very interested in the biography of an object. ... Like I feel about the objects, I think, how most people feel about people. So what I'm always trying to do is communicate that enthusiasm and that understanding to my reader, because these objects really have a lot of speaking to do.”

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is a former war correspondent and host of NPR’s Weekend Edition. Her new podcast, for the New York Times, is First Person.

“I would always say that if you go cover a story and you already know what people are going to say, and you already have it in your head what the outcome is, and there's no surprise there, then that's a story that you shouldn't be working on. You have to allow the opportunity for there to be a journey. And for there to be something at the end of it, that is gonna be like, Wow. I really never thought that. I didn't think that I was coming here to report on that, but I guess that's what I'm here to report on.”

Matt Levine is a finance columnist for Bloomberg Opinion . His newsletter is Money Stuff.

”I write a lot about people who have gotten in trouble with the SEC or the Justice Department. And a surprising subset of them will email me. And often I will have made fun of them, and they'll be like, ‘That was pretty fair.’”

Molly Lambert is a writer and the host of the new podcast HeidiWorld: The Heidi Fleiss Story.

“I think as a writer… I always had this thing: I don't want to be out front. I don't want the spotlight on me. I'm not an actor. I want to be lurking in the back with the cast accepting the applause, but I don't want to be the center of attention. And so I think kind of like making peace with like, Look, man, it's fine to be the center of attention when you made something you're proud of.”

Sam Knight is a London-based staff writer for The New Yorker. His new book is The Premonitions Bureau: A True Account of Death Foretold.

“I had a kind of working definition of what a premonition was when I was writing this book, which is: It's not just a feeling. It's not just a hunch. It's just not like a sense in the air. It's like, you know. You know, and you don't even want to know because you can't know and no one's going to believe you that you know, but you know. And what are you going to do about it? It's a horrible feeling.”

Joe Bernstein is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News.

“The question of disinformation is almost an attempt to create a new mythology around why people act the way they do. I don’t mean to say that it’s some kind of nefarious plot. ... It’s a natural, or a convenient explanation. And that’s why I think it caught on for some time anyway.”

Vauhini Vara is a contributing writer at Wired and author of the novel The Immortal King Rao.

“With a magazine story, it might be like six months or a year or two, if it's something that took you a long time. With this [novel], it was 13 years for me, but the sort of emotional arc felt similar, where there were these periods of despair and a sense that like, this wasn't going anywhere, and then these periods where like, I'm a genius and this is going to be the best book ever written. You go back and forth, as we do with our journalism. But then with every draft of it, I always felt like, all right, this is better than the last draft at least. I don't know what the next one is going to look like, but this is definitely an improvement. And I feel like that's what kept me feeling like I was at least moving in the right direction.”

Azmat Khan is an investigative reporter for the New York Times Magazine. She won the George Polk Award for uncovering intelligence failures and civilian deaths associated with U.S. air strikes.

“I think what was really damning for me is that, when I obtained these 1,300 records, in not one of them was there a single instance in which they describe any disciplinary action for anyone involved, or any findings of wrongdoing. … When I was looking at this in totality, suddenly it’s really hard to say you have a system of accountability.”

This is the last in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Daniel Chang covers healthcare for the Miami Herald. Along with Carol Marbin Miller, he won the George Polk Award for "Birth & Betrayal," a series co-published with ProPublica that exposed the consequences of a 1988 law designed to shelter medical providers from lawsuits by funding lifelong care for children severely disabled by birth-related brain injuries.

“I think that someone on the healthcare beat looks for stories from the perspective of patients, people who want or need to access the healthcare system and for different reasons cannot. It’s a pretty complicated system and it’s difficult for most people to understand how their health insurance works — and that’s if they have health insurance. If they don’t, there is a whole other system they have to go through. What you look for is access issues and accountability for that.”

This is the latest in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the director of the Global Migration Program at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She won the George Polk Award for "The Migrant Workers Who Follow Climate Disasters."

“I’m all about the Venn diagram where the individual meaningful stories of things people are up against intersect with the big systemic injustice issues of our day. It feels like climate is clearly an enormous domain where it’s been hard in some ways to tell substantive stories of where actual human beings are navigating and pushing back on some of these huge cultural forces.”

This is the latest in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Maria Abi-Habib is the bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean for the New York Times. Along with her colleague Frances Robles, Abi-Habib won the George Polk Award for revealing concealed aspects of the murder of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse.

“We’re not going to stop covering Haiti just because you don’t like us … at the end of the day you owe it to your citizens to talk to the media because if you can’t talk to the media and actually answer some questions, how are you going to run a country? We’re not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing this because we think that Haiti matters and we think Haitians, like all citizens in this world, actually deserve some answers to their questions and to know what the truth is.”

This is the second in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Clarissa Ward is the chief international correspondent for CNN. Along with field producer Brent Swails and photojournalists William Bonnett and Scott McWhinnie, Ward won the 2022 George Polk Award for her real-time coverage of the rapid rise of the Taliban as U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan last summer.

“I used to come back from war zones and feel completely disconnected from my life—disconnected from my friends, from my family. I would look down on people about the conversations they were having about silly things. I would feel kind of numb and miserable. And then I realized that if you want to be able to keep doing this work, you have to choose to embrace the privileges that you've been given. And you have to choose joy and choose love and be kind to yourself and have a glass of wine and go dancing or run up a mountain—whatever it is that does it for you, embrace it. That is part of the tax you pay for surviving these things: You've got to continue to love life.”

This is the first in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Jackie MacMullan is an NBA journalist who has written for The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and ESPN. She hosts the podcast Icons Club for The Ringer.

“[Athletes] think they don't need journalists—and they're wrong. And I tell them all this. I'm like, ‘I know you think you've got your own production company, but we can tell your story better than you can.' That's just the truth. No one tells their own story the best. It's the people around them that tell the story the best. And nobody wants a whitewashed version of you. They want warts and all. That's what makes you lovable. That's what makes you interesting. ... There are great journalists out there that can tell your story—and it might not be exactly the way you want it to be told, but it'll have weight and it'll have legacy to it.”

Alzo Slade is a correspondent for VICE News and host of the podcast Cheat.

“Human beings, we are the same, right? Like when you come out of the womb, you need to eat, you need to sleep, you need to pee, you need to shit, and when it comes to emotional needs, you need to feel loved. You need to feel there's compassion, you know? You need to feel significant and of value. And when it comes to like the feeling of significance and feeling valued, I think that's where we start to get into trouble because the same things that you hold of value, I may not in the same way. […] And so if I can engage you and recognize the perspective from which you come, and at least give you an entry level or a human level of respect from the beginning, then the departure point for our engagement is a proper one, as opposed to an antagonistic one.”

Chloé Cooper Jones is a philosopher and journalist whose work has appeared in GQ, The Verge, The Believer and many other publications. Her new book is Easy Beauty.

”I literally didn't talk to anyone in my life about disability until I was, like, 30. Ever. Not my husband, not my friends, as little as possible to my own mother. I had this very bad idea that what I needed to do in every single social situation was wait until people could unsee my body…. And it was all in service of trying to be truly recognized or truly seen. And, of course, what was happening is I was involved in a complete act of self erasure because my body and my real self are related…. There is no real me without my physical self…. I did not think I was going to ever write about this, but once I started, it felt like I met myself for the first time.”

Maya Shankar is a cognitive scientist and the host of A Slight Change of Plans.

”I am a type A person through and through. I love having the five-year plan and the ten-year plan, and mapping it all out. By nature, that's what I'm like. And I think the series of pivots that my life has naturally taken, or I've had to take, has kind of soured me on that whole way of thinking. […] Maybe it's also that I'm a more grateful person than I used to be. Like, I feel more gratitude, and so part of my orientation now is, well, how lucky am I that I even stumbled upon something?”

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and critic whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and many other publications. His new book is A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance.

“I learn from hearing my elders tell stories. There’s an inherent knowing of yourself as a vessel for narration who also has to—is required to—hold the attention of others at all costs. And that’s essentially what I’m trying to do. The broader project of my writing is almost a constant pleading of: Don’t leave yet. Stay here with me for just a little bit longer.

Joshua Yaffa is a correspondent for The New Yorker, the author of Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia, and has been reporting from Ukraine for the last several weeks. His most recent article is "What the Russian Invasion Has Done to Ukraine."

“I’m not at all a conflict reporter. I don't like it, though who would like being in these situations? But this is the story, right? If you cover this part of the world, if the war in 2014 felt like the tectonic plates of history were shifting, now they're just erupting, crashing. This is the asteroid-impact event for this part of the world with effects that will last similarly long going forward.”

Heather Havrilesky writes the Ask Polly and Ask Molly newsletters. Her latest book is Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage.

“It’s not a good story when you're bullshitting people. I didn't want this book to feel like bullshit…. I wanted to show enough that you could feel reassured that it's normal to feel conflicted about your life and the people in it. It's normal to feel anxious about how much people love you. And it's normal to feel avoidant about how much people love you. It's normal to feel like a failure in the face of trying to stay with someone over the course of your entire life.”

Laura Shin is a journalist covering cryptocurrency and hosts the podcast Unchained. Her new book is The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze.

“I was extremely well-acquainted with what the failings were with our traditional financial system. I was seeing through my other reporting how everything works now, and really understanding, whoa, this is not a good system. And then getting this education on what bitcoin is, I understood right away: wow, this is going to change the world.”

Tara Westover is the author of Educated.

“I used to be so fearful. ... I was afraid of losing my family. Then, after I had lost them, I was afraid that I made the wrong decision. Then I wrote the book and I was afraid that was the wrong decision. Everything made me frightened back then, and I just—I don't have that feeling now.”

Matthieu Aikins is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine who has reported on Afghanistan since 2008. His new book is The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees.

“I think at some point you just say, screw it. I'm gonna act like a human being and help my friend. That's the most important thing. You actually realize, yeah, now that we're in it together, the only thing that matters is both of us staying alive and staying safe and getting where we need to go. And whatever I have to do to do that, I'm going to do.”

Brian Reed and Hamza Syed are co-hosts of the new podcast The Trojan Horse Affair.

“I had lost all faith in the reporting that already happened on the subject matter. And that was my mentality with each source and each interviewer. I wanted the debate ended in the room because I didn't want commentary beyond it. I didn't want any kind of interpretation beyond it. I wanted the situation to be resolved there and then…. And without certain answers, I thought we weren't going to be able to speak about this matter in the way that I wanted to speak about it.” —Syed

“I both desperately wanted to know the answer of who wrote the letter, but kind of understood that we probably weren't going to get it beyond a shadow of a doubt. And I thought that I had transmitted that to Hamza and that he understood that. But as time went on, I realized that he had not accepted that as the likely outcome. And this is what was actually so energizing to work with you, Hamza. You never let your hope and desire and hunger to get that answer ever get dimmed. Like, ever.” —Reed

Chuck Klosterman is a journalist and author of eleven books, including his latest, The Nineties.

”Selling out… was very much injected into the way I understood the world…. And I am now supposed to do all of these interviews and all of these podcasts promoting this book. And because it's a book about the nineties… it feels incredibly uncomfortable to me…. I think young people assume that selling out is only about money: that if you try to do something to make money, that means you're selling out, because the word ‘sell’ is in there. But that's not really how it was. I mean, what you were selling out was this idea of your integrity. And what your integrity was, was somehow not doing anything to make other people like you.”

Khabat Abbas is an independent journalist and video producer from northeastern Syria, and the winner of the 2021 Kurt Schork News Fixer Award.

”I can see from my experience that there is a gap between the editors, who are kind of elites in their luxury offices, and the amazing journalists who are in the field, who all sympathize with what they are seeing on the ground and want to cover [it], but they have to satisfy the editors. And this is how we end up having little gaps in the ways of covering in general. It's not a matter of like, they shaped it in this way. The problem, I think, it’s bigger. How this industry is working, how this industry is deciding what they should cover.”