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Tag Archives: John Jeremiah Sullivan

The Music of Narrative: Songs from great literary journalism

A story without sound lies too dead on the page. Imagine “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster,” by Jon Franklin, without the pop … pop … pop of the operating-room sensors. Or Tom Wolfe’s “The Girl of the Year” — the 1964 New York magazine classic on “it” girl Jane Holzer — without the manic rhythms: She is gorgeous [...]

“Why’s this so good?” — The Spring Break edition

In our “Why’s this so good?” series, contributors break down a favorite piece of journalistic storytelling. In honor of this, the season of Spring Break, three great reads in first-person major, on excursions tinged with existentialism. Megan Garber, Paul Kix and Brent McDonald revisit an ocean voyage, a music festival and a county fair. Megan [...]

Pinned: Elizabeth Kolbert, Gillian Blake, Todd C. Frankel, John Jeremiah Sullivan, storytellers in trouble, a healing cruise and two schools of cliches

For your weekend reading pleasure, items from our Pinterest boards … Recommended Reading: A news photographer, a layoff, a death, and then things got even worse. From the John Woodrow Cox’s short “Dispatches from Next Door: The pale glow of a brighter day:” Determined to return, he spent his severance on camera gear instead of [...]

Nieman Lab summer reading + Barry Hannah + the brain and dramatic arc + a Japanese pitching sensation + a new board

Pinned this week for your storytelling pleasure: The Recommended board has been especially busy: • Our sister pub Nieman Lab has been engaging in a little summer reading from our Nieman Foundation library, a treasure trove that spans our 75-year history as the world’s oldest and best-known study program for journalists. Ours is “one of [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 75: Dan P. Lee and the father who lost everything

My estimable friend and former colleague Paul Kix recently wrote a column in this space on John Jeremiah Sullivan. In it he cited an essay Sullivan wrote about the art of writing: A fundamental law of storytelling is: withhold information. As the writer Paul Metcalf put it, “The only real work in creative endeavor is [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 71: John Jeremiah Sullivan and “Upon This Rock”

Last summer, John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote an essay about Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom!, and amid his deft and borderline genius thoughts on the novel – “It…dramatize[s] historical consciousness itself, not just human lives but the forest of time in which the whole notion of human life must find its only meaning” – Sullivan said something telling [...]

“Why’s This So Good?” No. 54: John Jeremiah Sullivan and partisan politics

Politics should, in theory, be the subject of some of the most compelling narrative journalism. There’s built-in drama! There are winners and losers! The stakes are high! That’s why it’s so depressing that most politics stories, even those of the narrative variety, are painfully boring. They tend to fall into one of two traps – and [...]

The best magazine features of 2011: an ASME sampler

National Magazine Award judges have a tough job this year as they choose a winner in the features category. There’s the sobering story about a corporate attorney’s mysterious death in Guatemala; the bizarre tale of a pair of young international arms dealers; the moving account of two dozen strangers braving a massive tornado; a fable-like piece [...]

What we’re reading: baseball, life at Disney World, and strange summer stories

A man with advanced ALS heads out for a fishing trip with his wife. A reporter goes to Walt Disney World with his children and a reefer-addicted friend.  A Korean-American sportswriter over at the intriguing new Grantland site reflects on his cultural confusion when Ichiro Suzuki came to play for the Seattle Mariners. (Should he be [...]