My essay "Quebrado," on an anarchist journalist who filmed his own murder, is Longreads.com's Member's Pick this week. -- Jeff Sharlet
It's nice to be appreciated at home.
Dartmouth Now, an official publication of the college, gives 40 Towns lots of ink in "New Website is Showcase for Literary Journalism Students", along with a terrific photo of our staff poring over maps of the Upper Valley.
Dartbeat, the blog of The Dartmouth, provides another take, by student writer Margarette Nelson.
And Dartblog, a widely-read independent daily publication, sings our praises, too.
Last but not least, Dan Fagin, a Dartmouth alumn and parent -- and a professor of science journalism at NYU as well as author of the recent Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation -- gives us a little twitter love: "Congratulations to @JeffSharlet and all the writers at @40Towns. Some really fine work here, worth your attention. http://www.40towns.com/"
Sarah Menkedick, the up-and-coming star editor of Vela, selects 40 Town's "Tiny Birthday," by Laina Richards, for Vela's weekly round-up of "Women We Read." Writes Menkedick, "This piece is full of careful, heartbreaking little details – the Tootsie Pop wedged between the bananas, the grief-muted exchanges between waiting parents, a hand the size of a nickel. It is one you read with your heart clenched in both empathy and fear; the prose is soft, respectful, elegant, and honest, and doesn’t need to resort to sentimentality to make us care, deeply."
Editors, writers, and media makers respond to 40 Towns via social media:
"This is a good thing. Congratulations, Dartmouth heroes."
--Kyle Minor, author of In The Devil's Territory and Praying Drunk
"So much good stuff here."
--Ann Friedman, former executive editor of Good and curator at Ladyjournos
"One of the great pleasures of summer 2013 has been reading 40 towns."
Pamela Kingsbury, U. North Alabama, editor, Southern Scribes
"I have been following this and believe it should be a model for other programs/universities."
--Jill Talbot, author of Metawritings: Toward a Theory of Nonfiction
"I think publishing + writing in general could use a lot of 'I didn't know I couldn't do that.'"
--Marthine Satris, editor, MP Publishing
"Really enjoying the output from the 40 Towns crew. Great stuff."
--Brittany Shoot, managing editor, The Magazine, contributing writer, Sojourners
"Huge props to Jeff Sharlet & his Dartmouth students for 40towns [dot] com. So many absorbing #longreads."
--Andy Kroll, Mother Jones staff writer
"Something really good is happening at @40towns."
--Meera Subramanian, author of Elemental India & contributor, Nature
"I luxuriated in the long, deep stories. Thanks."
--Susan Katz Miller, author of Being Both & former US correspondent, New Scientist
"This is a real find. 40 Towns publishes literary journalism about the Upper Valley by students in Jeff Sharlet's creative nonfiction courses at Dartmouth College. The linked story is a revelation. A young Kenyan woman comes to know an elderly Jehovah Witness in a meditative piece on endings."
--Mikel Ellcessor, cofounder, Radiolab, General Manager WDET (Detroit Public Radio)
"I love the Shady Lady story. I really really love it."
--Jason Fagone, author of Ingenious and Wired contributing editor
"This is lovely. Reads like fiction."
--Atossa Abrahamian, Reuters, editor, The New Inquiry
"experiments in literary journalism: @40towns, inspiring collaboration btwn Jeff Sharlet & his students at dartmouth."
--Visual artist Alyce Santoro
"Awesome." -- Duncan Murrell, contributing editor, Harper's, Director of the Writing Program at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies
A kindness for 40 Towns from The Millions, one of the sites that has made popular literary criticism vital again in the 21st century.
Longreads.com is one of a few excellent new aggregators of long, mostly narrative journalism from all over the web. Together, these sites -- there's also Longform.com and Byliner.com -- are making it possible to read a wide range of literary journalism without all the noise that surrounds it in magazines. There's no news-you-can-use, no fashion spreads, no gadget reviews. If one of these sites features a celeb profile, it's because their editors think it's better than hackwork.
Longreads.com is first out of the gate in recognizing that much of what's being written by younger writers is better than hackwork because so many younger writers don't even know what a hack is, yet. For better or worse, most college writers aren't writing to pay their bills. So if they can escape the tyranny of grades, they can write simply to write well.
That's the theory behind 40 Towns. We're thrilled that Longreads.com has noticed -- they've just made "The Shady Lady," by our assistant editor, Danny Valdes, their fourth College Longreads Pick of the Week.