The Atavist Magazine

The Atavist Magazine One blockbuster longform story per month, with the most elegant writing, engaging video, and innovative design on the web.

An nine-time finalist for the National Magazine Awards, The Atavist Magazine was the first digital-only publication to win for feature writing in 2015. We've also been nominated for two Emmys, and over a dozen of our stories have been optioned for Hollywood film and TV projects, with the likes of Todd Phillips, Miles Teller, and Edward Norton.

Issue no. 98! "It seemed that we had passed on to some bleak, dusky afterlife, a mist-swarmed purgatory of facts and alt...
01/02/2020
Lost in Summerland

Issue no. 98!

"It seemed that we had passed on to some bleak, dusky afterlife, a mist-swarmed purgatory of facts and alternative facts out of which emerged such fearsome ghouls as InfoWars, Stephen Miller, and Space Force. Given that our lives had essentially become posthumous, could you really blame me for wondering if my brother could summon ghosts?"

From writer Barrett Swanson, a story about a terrifying brain injury, the voices of the dead, and two brothers' journey to find the truth.

At the world's largest gathering of psychics and mediums, two brothers confront a painful family secret.

"To read the transcript of Erin Hunter’s trial, which runs all of 81 pages and can be digested in half an hour, is to en...
12/02/2019
“Your Honor, Can I Tell the Whole Story?”

"To read the transcript of Erin Hunter’s trial, which runs all of 81 pages and can be digested in half an hour, is to encounter a disregard for human dignity instrumental in producing the most sprawling system of incarceration in the world."

A murder in #NewOrleans, a trial that lasted less than a day, and the lives they entangled for the next three decades. Published in partnership with @thelensnola, with support from @fundFIJ.

#longreads #longform #truecrime #criminaljustice #crimereads #louisiana

A murder in New Orleans, a trial that lasted less than a day, and the lives they entangled for the next three decades. Published in partnership with @TheLensNOLA and with support from the @FundFIJ.

Issue no. 96! The only woman who'd ever tried to run the Colorado River vanished in the Grand Canyon. That didn't stop t...
11/01/2019
The Wild Ones

Issue no. 96! The only woman who'd ever tried to run the Colorado River vanished in the Grand Canyon. That didn't stop two female scientists from embarking on the harrowing journey in 1938. The remarkable true story, from Melissa Sevigny.

People said that women had no place in the Grand Canyon and would likely die trying to run the Colorado River. In 1938, two female scientists set out to prove them wrong.

Issue no. 95 is here! A true story of terrorism or heroics, depending on who you ask.#longreads #longform #migrants #ref...
10/02/2019
The Rescue

Issue no. 95 is here! A true story of terrorism or heroics, depending on who you ask.

#longreads #longform #migrants #refugees #mediterranean #europe #malta #libya

A flimsy raft, more than 100 souls, and three teenage heroes—or are they pirates? Atavist Issue no. 95: "The Rescue," by Zach Campbell.

Issue no. 94! A Dutch gallerist spent two decades making thousands of forgeries. When he was caught, a new con began. Ou...
08/30/2019
Masterpiece Theater

Issue no. 94! A Dutch gallerist spent two decades making thousands of forgeries. When he was caught, a new con began. Our writer navigated trickery, boasting, and contradictions to get the story—not all of it on the part of the master forger.

Chagall, Picasso, de Kooning, Dali—a master forger mimicked them all. For two decades, he duped art dealers and collectors. When he was caught, a new con began.

Issue no. 93 is here! The story of an American woman who spent 40 years searching for the truth about her friend's fate,...
07/31/2019
There Are Places You Cannot Go

Issue no. 93 is here! The story of an American woman who spent 40 years searching for the truth about her friend's fate, after he returned to his home country in the midst of a genocide. In the end, she learns that her friend never stopped seeking a better life.

From Brent Crane, with photos by Thomas Cristofoletti.

A friendship born out of the ruins of a nation, a dangerous journey home, and a 40-year search for the truth. From writer Brent Crane, a story of the Cambodian genocide.

Issue no. 92 is live! In the 1970s, the black men from #Pittsburgh who formed America’s first paramedic corps wanted to ...
07/01/2019
The First Responders

Issue no. 92 is live! In the 1970s, the black men from #Pittsburgh who formed America’s first paramedic corps wanted to make history and save lives—starting with their own. From writer Kevin Hazzard, with illustrations by Marc Aspinall, a remarkable story of brotherhood and perseverance.

The black men in 1970s Pittsburgh who formed America’s original paramedic corps wanted to make history and save lives—starting with their own. From writer Kevin Hazzard, with illustrations by Marc Aspinall.

Don't forget! This Saturday night in New York City, our friends at Topic and Pop-Up Magazine are presenting John Cameron...
06/20/2019
NYU BOX OFFICE | Topic Talks: Music Presented by Luminary

Don't forget! This Saturday night in New York City, our friends at Topic and Pop-Up Magazine are presenting John Cameron Mitchell—Hedwig herself!—in an awesome live storytelling and music performance. See below for ticket (and discount) info.

Topic is proud to present our new live event series Topic Talks, in partnership with Pop-Up Magazine. First up is “Topic Talks: Music”, a night of music, stories and stories about music.

Love storytelling and music? We do, too! Our friends at Topic are presenting a new live event series called Topic Talks,...
06/05/2019
NYU BOX OFFICE | Topic Talks: Music Presented by Luminary

Love storytelling and music? We do, too! Our friends at Topic are presenting a new live event series called Topic Talks, in partnership with Pop-Up Magazine. First up is a night of music, stories, and stories about music—on June 22 at 7 p.m. at NYU Skirball. Featuring John Cameron Mitchell, creator of the iconic film and Tony-winning musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, who will perform songs from his new podcast musical, Anthem Podcast. There will be other special guests, too! Get tickets and a 20% discount here. See you there!

Topic is proud to present our new live event series Topic Talks, in partnership with Pop-Up Magazine. First up is “Topic Talks: Music”, a night of music, stories and stories about music.

Thrilled to share that Chris Outcalt has been honored with the #LivingstonAward for National Reporting. The Livingston h...
06/05/2019
Murder at the Alcatraz of the Rockies

Thrilled to share that Chris Outcalt has been honored with the #LivingstonAward for National Reporting. The Livingston honors exceptional work by reporters under the age of 35. Past winners include Christiane Amanpour, David Remnick, and Thomas Friedman, among other industry leaders. Congrats to Chris! You can read his story, about the first murder at the most secure prison in America, here.

In 2006, a rookie FBI agent was tasked with unraveling a murder conspiracy in America's most secure prison—home to the Unabomber, international terrorists, and drug kingpins. A story of brutality, isolation, and loyalty, by Chris Outcalt for The Atavist

Issue no. 91 has arrived: Klamath County, Oregon, is the perfect place to go if you don't want to be found—and the worst...
06/05/2019
Outlaw Country

Issue no. 91 has arrived: Klamath County, Oregon, is the perfect place to go if you don't want to be found—and the worst place to be if someone threatens your life. A riveting read about a forgotten corner of the American West, from writer Emma Marris, with photography by Michael Hanson. #longreads #longform #truecrime #crimereads

Atavist Issue No. 91: Klamath County, Oregon, is the perfect place to go if you don't want to be found—and the worst place to be if someone threatens your life. Words by Emma Marris, with photographs by Michael Hanson.

Atavist Issue no. 90 has landed! Red Fawn Fallis found love and purpose on a Dakota prairie. She thought it would save h...
04/30/2019
The Heart Still Stands

Atavist Issue no. 90 has landed!

Red Fawn Fallis found love and purpose on a Dakota prairie. She thought it would save her life. Instead, it sent her to prison. A story of romance, resistance, and betrayal at the #StandingRock protests against the #DAPL. From writer Elizabeth Flock, with collage illustrations by James Dawe.

Red Fawn Fallis found love and purpose on a Dakota prairie. She thought it would save her life. Instead she went to prison. A story of romance, betrayal, and resistance at the Standing Rock protests, from writer Elizabeth Flock.

Issue no. 89 is out.A car crash in rural Kentucky left a 13-year-old girl dead. A Sudanese refugee was charged with her ...
04/01/2019
Commonwealth v. Mohamed

Issue no. 89 is out.

A car crash in rural Kentucky left a 13-year-old girl dead. A Sudanese refugee was charged with her killing. Could anyone get justice in the heart of Trump country?

#refugees #justice #longreads #longform

A car crash in Kentucky left a 13-year-old girl dead. A Sudanese refugee was charged with her killing. Could anyone get justice?

Issue No. 88 is here! A new wife, a dead husband, and the arsenic panic that shook the Victorian world. This is the tale...
02/28/2019
The Minnesota Murderess

Issue No. 88 is here! A new wife, a dead husband, and the arsenic panic that shook the Victorian world. This is the tale of Ann Bilansky, the only woman ever executed by the state of Minnesota who was a black widow, or a serial killer, or perhaps wholly innocent.

Words by Christine Seifert, illustrations by Joe Gough.

#longreads #crimereads #longform #history #murder #feminism #justice

https://magazine.atavist.com/the-minnesota-murderess-ann-bilansky-arsenic

The state of Minnesota charged her with murder. The New York Times reported that she might have been a serial killer. History suggests that she was innocent. This is the tale of Ann Bilansky, her dead husband, and the arsenic panic that shook the Victoria

Last spring, Ed Averill robbed a bank. He didn't have any money, but that wasn't what he was after. This is the ballad o...
02/01/2019
The Desperado

Last spring, Ed Averill robbed a bank. He didn't have any money, but that wasn't what he was after. This is the ballad of the blind bandit, a parable of America in 2019.

Read our latest story by @CiaraORourke with illustrations by @MattyHuynh

In April 2018, a blind man with one foot robbed a bank in Austin, Texas. This is a heist story—but unlike any you've ever read. From @ciaraorourke, with illustrations by @matty_huynh.

One of our founders, former editor-in-chief Evan Ratliff, today publishes a stellar new book based on his blockbuster Th...
01/29/2019
The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal.

One of our founders, former editor-in-chief Evan Ratliff, today publishes a stellar new book based on his blockbuster The Atavist Magazine series, THE MASTERMIND. It's about how a South African computer programmer built a global criminal empire. Go buy it! You'll be happy you did.

#truecrime #crimereads #books #book #newbooks #publishing #longreads #longform #technology https://www.amazon.com/Mastermind-Drugs-Empire-Murder-Betrayal/dp/0399590412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548262537&sr=8-1&keywords=evan+ratliff+mastermind

The incredible true story of the decade-long quest to bring down Paul Le Roux—the creator of a frighteningly powerful Internet-enabled cartel who merged the ruthlessness of a drug lord with the technological savvy of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur“Evan Ratliff has pried open a hidden w...

Issue no. 86, and our last of 2018. Deon Estime Richards was saved from parents so abusive that they killed his little s...
12/31/2018
The End of Forever

Issue no. 86, and our last of 2018. Deon Estime Richards was saved from parents so abusive that they killed his little sister. Adoption was supposed to be a fresh start. Instead, it was a new nightmare. What happens when a forever family falls apart? And, in keeping with a theme of this past year, what responsibility does society have to protect some of its most vulnerable children? From Rowan Moore Gerety, with photography by Black Florida. #longreads #longform #florida

Deon Richards was saved from parents so abusive that they killed his sister. Getting adopted was supposed to be a fresh start. Instead, it was a new nightmare.

Our latest issue is here!Who killed Cathy Robertson, a God-fearing farmer's wife shot to death in her bed in Chillicothe...
11/30/2018
Blood Cries Out

Our latest issue is here!

Who killed Cathy Robertson, a God-fearing farmer's wife shot to death in her bed in Chillicothe, Missouri? The quest to answer that question tore two families and their farming community apart. It also threw Missouri's legal system into turmoil. In the tradition of IN COLD BLOOD and Making A Murderer, a remarkable #truecrime yarn from Sean Patrick Cooper.

On a Missouri farm, two families worked the land side by side, until a murder shattered their American dream. The quest to find the killer tore the families and their community apart.

In 1994, the world's last true whalers battled a seemingly invincible beast in a remote corner of the earth. They also c...
10/31/2018
The Whalers’ Odyssey

In 1994, the world's last true whalers battled a seemingly invincible beast in a remote corner of the earth. They also confronted a new danger more threatening than any leviathan: the outside world.

@DougBockClark tells the incredible adventure tale for @atavistmag, issue no. 84. This story is adapted from Doug's forthcoming book, THE LAST WHALERS (Little, Brown), which is available for preorder on Amazon.

#longform #longreads #writing #indonesia

A courageous tribe, a colossal foe, and a terrifying ocean voyage. In the tradition of great adventure writing and Moby Dick, @DougBockClark tells the incredible story of the world's last true whalers.

Issue No. 83 is here! "By the age of 30, John McGrath thought, either Luvo Manyonga would be standing on an Olympic podi...
10/01/2018
The Long Shots

Issue No. 83 is here!

"By the age of 30, John McGrath thought, either Luvo Manyonga would be standing on an Olympic podium or he’d be lying in a gutter, dead from an overdose. What McGrath didn’t know, and perhaps couldn’t, was that the choice Manyonga made that day would shape the course of his life, too."

A South African sports phenom shunned for drug abuse, an Irish strongman down on his luck, and the leap of faith they took together.

It's the one-year anniversary of the death of Scout Schultz, a queer student shot and killed by a campus cop at Georgia ...
09/17/2018
The Trigger Effect

It's the one-year anniversary of the death of Scout Schultz, a queer student shot and killed by a campus cop at Georgia Tech. Since their death, friends of Scout's have been arrested for protesting their death; two committed suicide. Meanwhile, the cop who killed them is back working on campus.

Read the harrowing story here.

Last September, a campus cop shot and killed a queer college student in Atlanta. By the end of 2017, several of the student's friends had been arrested; two were dead. What happened at Georgia Tech? The story of a tragic year, by @hallielieberman.

Issue No. 82 is now available.In September 2017, a cop shot and killed a queer college student in Atlanta. By the end of...
08/31/2018
The Trigger Effect

Issue No. 82 is now available.

In September 2017, a cop shot and killed a queer college student in Atlanta. By the end of the year, several of the student's friends had been arrested. Two were dead. What happened at Georgia Tech?

#lgbt #lgbtq #longreads #longform #transgender #transrights

Last September, a campus cop shot and killed a queer college student in Atlanta. By the end of 2017, several of the student's friends had been arrested; two were dead. What happened at Georgia Tech? The story of a tragic year, by @hallielieberman.

Issue No. 81 is out! Four days, two ax murders, and one poplar tree in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that almost ignited ...
07/31/2018
Axes of Evil

Issue No. 81 is out! Four days, two ax murders, and one poplar tree in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that almost ignited World War III. Josh Dean spins a crazy, true yarn about a deadly landscaping dispute between North Korea and America in August 1976.

In August 1976, North Korean soldiers hacked two U.S. officers to death with axes in the DMZ. The world teetered on the brink of WWIII as America plotted revenge—by cutting down a poplar tree. The bizarre true story of Operation Paul Bunyan.

Great first lines are the best kind of lines. #writing #longreads #longform
07/27/2018
Hidden Compass

Great first lines are the best kind of lines. #writing #longreads #longform

"He was in a hurry when he was killed."

With an opening like that, you can only hope the story that follows lives up to the initial suspense. This tale of a lost teenager who died alone on April 1, 1921 in Georgetown, Kentucky delivers, from The Atavist Magazine and writer Alina Simone.

#SaturdayStories #AStoryWorthSharing

07/18/2018
2018 Winners - The Association for Women in Communications

Congratulations to Kenneth R. Rosen on winning the 2018 Clarion Award for Best Feature Article in Online Media! His phenomenal story about the impossible moral question of what should be done with the ISIS dead was accompanied by Alex Kay Potter's gorgeous, devastating photos. Thanks to the Association for Women in Communications for the honor!

Hear writer Allyn Gaestel talk about her Atavist Magazine story "Things Fall Apart," documenting the rise and (literal) ...
07/04/2018
The Rise and Fall of the Makoko Floating School – emerge85 – Medium

Hear writer Allyn Gaestel talk about her Atavist Magazine story "Things Fall Apart," documenting the rise and (literal) collapse of a heralded development project, on the emerge85 podcast.

What the story of one Nigerian school tells us about larger narratives from the emerging world.

It's blazing hot outside! Cool off by reading incredible true stories in the shade. Until July 31, get 20% off a magazin...
07/02/2018
The Atavist Magazine

It's blazing hot outside! Cool off by reading incredible true stories in the shade. Until July 31, get 20% off a magazine membership with coupon code WELOVESTORIES. You'll get 12 amazing new articles delivered to your inbox, plus access to our complete back catalog.

The Atavist Magazine is an independent, digital-only publication devoted to longform narrative journalism. The magazine releases one in-depth story each month, and is known for its commitment to the highest quality reporting and writing as well as its pioneering online design. In its five-year histo...

Issue no. 80 is out! Peyton Thomas details the little-known 1952 court case that helped spark the gay rights revolution....
06/29/2018
Ordinary Person, Wild Radical

Issue no. 80 is out! Peyton Thomas details the little-known 1952 court case that helped spark the gay rights revolution. With illustrations by ELLIS D.

Happy #Pride month, dear readers!

One night in 1952, a menacing stranger followed Dale Jennings, a gay writer, artist, and activist, to the door of his Los Angeles apartment. What happened next helped to spark a revolution. Just in time for the conclusion of Pride month, a remarkable yet

The Atavist Magazine, issue no. 79, is out today! Is a horde of bears, zombified by a brain parasite that triggers risky...
05/31/2018
Barbearians at the Gate

The Atavist Magazine, issue no. 79, is out today!

Is a horde of bears, zombified by a brain parasite that triggers risky behavior, terrorizing a small American town? Or is the battle between man and beast just fake news?

Words by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling, illustrations by Lauren Tamaki.

In Grafton, New Hampshire (pop. 1,300), residents will use anything—guns, electric fences, firecrackers, cayenne pepper, bottle rockets—to defend themselves from bears. But is the town's ursine threat just fake news? @hh_matt takes a raucous journey t

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