Off Assignment

Off Assignment A literary space for the candid tales *behind* official stories.
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We have a hunch: that the best travel stories haven't been told. That the most compelling world journeys don't make it into print. That the way a writer digresses from a plan or pitch is precisely what warrants telling. Off Assignment is a platform for original writing about rare places. We’re not here to guide vacations. We don’t cover spas or centennials. We care about voice and place and story. We want the writer back on the page—sweating, tripping, and telling a fuller tale. We aim to get rid of the gloss, to shrink the gap between traveler and reader, and to make space for travel writing with stakes, surprise, and the power to endure. We are a 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Please consider making a donation today by clicking the link below! https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=TDKY5CVAWAXTL

Off Assignment is so excited launch our new column with Iowa's International Writing Program (IWP), "Images of America."...
11/29/2018
Images of America — OFF ASSIGNMENT

Off Assignment is so excited launch our new column with Iowa's International Writing Program (IWP), "Images of America." In each essay, an IWP fellow from abroad writes a letter to a stranger whom they met during their stay in America. This week's contributor is famed Ukrainian writer, Kateryna Babkina. You can read it, in the English translation, here:

http://www.offassignment.com/images-of-america/

This program emerged from our partnership with the International Writers' Program at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Off Assignment's cover photo
11/26/2018

Off Assignment's cover photo

This fall, we're rolling out a new series of interviews: "Behind the Briefings," starting with an intimate dialogue with...
09/21/2017
BEHIND THE BRIEFINGS: ASHLEY PARKER

This fall, we're rolling out a new series of interviews: "Behind the Briefings," starting with an intimate dialogue with Ashley Parker, the fearless Washington Post reporter made famous by a GIF of her shocked face at a White House press briefing. In this conversation, Parker tells OA what it's like to cover Trump. http://www.offassignment.com/articles/elaina-plott-ashley-parker

It was the GIF seen ‘round the world. Ashley Parker, White House reporter for the Washington Post, listened as then-press secretary Sean Spicer compared Adolf Hitler to Bashar al-Assad, suggesting that Hitler was, somehow, not “as bad” as al-Assad. Parker’s facial expressions charted a jou

08/22/2017
Colleen Kinder Workshop - The Millay Colony for the Arts

OA co-founder Colleen Kinder is leading a writing workshop on place in the idyllic Millay Colony during the month of September. Interested? Here's more info:
http://www.millaycolony.org/colleen-kinder-workshop/

UPSTATE: Personalizing Place with Colleen Kinder Personalizing Place September 1 to September 5 with Colleen Kinder Place is where the “I” goes,” writes Dorothy Allison.”Place is what that “I” looks at, what it doesn’t look at.” Every writer, whether a memoirist, short-story writer, playwright, or...

It's dreary here in SF. Reminds us of Leslie Jamison's complicated relationship with Seattle. Haven't heard the piece? S...
08/04/2017
Leslie Jamison: Unpitchable - Seattle, Washington

It's dreary here in SF. Reminds us of Leslie Jamison's complicated relationship with Seattle. Haven't heard the piece? Stay inside, make some cocoa and give this a play. #fbf

Off Assignment is a literary space for the candid tales *behind* writers' official works.

Off Assignment's cover photo
08/01/2017

Off Assignment's cover photo

Hello wonderful writers,OA is currently seeking submissions for all of their columns. Have a Letter to a Stranger brewin...
07/27/2017
Submission guidelines

Hello wonderful writers,
OA is currently seeking submissions for all of their columns. Have a Letter to a Stranger brewing inside you? Know a term in a different language that has No Equivalent in English? Wrote an article for a different publication, but always wanted to tell the story Behind the Feature? Submit to us! Below are our submission guidelines. All pitches or questions can be sent to [email protected]. Spread the word!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Welcome! We’re Off Assignment: a new, frame-breaking web magazine. We began with a grassroots reading series in New York in which journalists dished their untold stories to live audiences, and have since launched a digital storytelling platform and an audio series on SoundC...

Happen to anyone else this summer?
07/18/2017

Happen to anyone else this summer?

Thanks for the shoutout on this list, The Good Trade!http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/conscious-travel-magazines-ins...
07/13/2017
10 Conscious Travel Magazines Inspiring Wanderlust + Cultural Appreciation

Thanks for the shoutout on this list, The Good Trade!
http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/conscious-travel-magazines-inspiring-cultural-appreciation

Skip the tabloids and pick up a digital or print copy of one of these impactful and inspiring publications. Each magazine is carefully crafted by dedicated storytellers and creators who all have one thing in common: a longing to better understand the world and its people. Readers are invited

A daughter spends a life uncovering her father's trastiendas, which lead her to one of her own she never unlocked until ...
07/06/2017
TRASTIENDA - By Judy Bolton-Fasman

A daughter spends a life uncovering her father's trastiendas, which lead her to one of her own she never unlocked until now.

Each person has a trastienda within them: a place my Cuban mother described whereby secrets thrill the day and deepen the night.

The wait is over! Our Kickstarter supporters will be getting the debut print volume you see in OA editor Sam's hands ver...
07/03/2017

The wait is over! Our Kickstarter supporters will be getting the debut print volume you see in OA editor Sam's hands very soon. The boxes behind her are just some of the hundreds of volumes that were sent out today. Watch your mailbox and share a picture with us when you get it!

Want a print volume of your own, but didn't get one through the Kickstarter? Stay tuned! We'll have more info very soon on how to order one!

The stranger who wouldn't just stay a stranger.
06/29/2017
TO THE ONE WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO GET AWAY

The stranger who wouldn't just stay a stranger.

We weren’t lovers and we won’t be friends, and now you’ve made it so we can’t even be strangers.

"And so, after having flown for a day, driven for three days, we now rode reindeer for three days in the dead of winter ...
06/26/2017

"And so, after having flown for a day, driven for three days, we now rode reindeer for three days in the dead of winter over moonscapes, and arrived in this place which was some hybrid of Mordor and Lord of the Flies. Reindeer bounded right up to us, like we’d just arrived at Santa’s workshop."
http://www.offassignment.com/articles/andrew-rowat

The story behind Andrew Rowat's photo shoot where he was told, "They want to kill you and take your boots."
06/22/2017
BEHIND THE PHOTOS: NORTHERN MONGOLIA MINING CAMPS

The story behind Andrew Rowat's photo shoot where he was told, "They want to kill you and take your boots."

And so, after having flown for a day, driven for three days, we now rode reindeer for three days in the dead of winter over moonscapes, and arrived in this place which was some hybrid of Mordor and Lord of the Flies. Reindeer bounded right up to us, like we’d just arrived at Santa’s workshop

Off Assignment's cover photo
06/16/2017

Off Assignment's cover photo

This man barely spoke the same language as Ying Reinhardt, but was the closest connection she had made in months aboard ...
06/15/2017
TO THE MAN WHO SPOKE WITH HIS HANDS By Ying Reinhardt

This man barely spoke the same language as Ying Reinhardt, but was the closest connection she had made in months aboard the Costa Allegra.

Slowly and patiently, you coaxed little secrets out of my heart. You were curious and I was happy to oblige.

Sometimes the best travel writing comes from the letters we write to those back home. Read Rolf Potts's letters he wrote...
06/09/2017
JUST GOT WI-FI: LOVE (BY LAMPLIGHT) - by Rolf Potts

Sometimes the best travel writing comes from the letters we write to those back home. Read Rolf Potts's letters he wrote with love from Laos.

"DEAREST STEFIE, It is night, and I am writing to you by the light of an oil lamp in Na village—which has to be one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever been. We arrived here yesterday afternoon, via a cave about 6 kilometers from the Hinboun River. You almost have to see this valley t

What’s the food that most left its mark on Julia Cooke's memory? We weren’t expecting to hear bananas, but bananas i...
06/01/2017
What I Didn't Say: About Cuba - By Julia Cooke

What’s the food that most left its mark on Julia Cooke's memory? We weren’t expecting to hear bananas, but bananas it was. So bananas it is.

When she tasted a Cuban banana, her eyes widened, her mouth puckered, she cocked her head and looked at the bowl, the tree, my face, back to the bowl and to the banana inside of it.

Rachel Pieh Jones was fascinated with the Somali word "faq" from the start. The deeper she immersed herself in the cultu...
05/25/2017
No Equivalent: Faq - Rachel Pieh Jones

Rachel Pieh Jones was fascinated with the Somali word "faq" from the start. The deeper she immersed herself in the culture, the more she clung to the comfort it gave.

I listened to the word dozens of times during a single broadcast, sometimes succumbing to giggles. Such is the mental exhaustion caused by straining to learn a language with no classes and little written material. Or, the emotional exhaustion of trying to faq out a life as an alien in a new la

Off Assignment's cover photo
05/25/2017

Off Assignment's cover photo

Everyone, we did it: We sent the magazine to press. We can't wait for you to hold it, open it, savor it. Here, in the in...
05/24/2017

Everyone, we did it: We sent the magazine to press. We can't wait for you to hold it, open it, savor it. Here, in the interim, is a teaser. If you got the print volume through our Kickstarter, it's one step closer to you.

We recently had a party to celebrate the success of our Kickstarter, and guess who showed up? Beloved local writer and c...
05/19/2017

We recently had a party to celebrate the success of our Kickstarter, and guess who showed up? Beloved local writer and co-founder of Salon, Gary Kamiya! In OA party tradition, Gary told us some of the stories behind writing "Cool Grey City of Love," a book that paints a wondrous portrait of San Francisco and its rich history. We all walked away with a little more appreciation for the city by the bay

We celebrated the success of our Kickstarter with some drinks, snacks and stories from Gary Kamiya.
05/18/2017

We celebrated the success of our Kickstarter with some drinks, snacks and stories from Gary Kamiya.

Letter to a Stranger getting a shoutout in the New York Times this week!
05/17/2017

Letter to a Stranger getting a shoutout in the New York Times this week!

05/12/2017

Like our Letter to a Stranger series? We'd love you to take part. Write to the person you never got to fully know, but will never forget.

We're accepting submissions until June 1st!
http://www.offassignment.com/about/team

Who is Sandals Man?
05/11/2017
TO SANDALS MAN by Craig Mod

Who is Sandals Man?

And while I’m sure none of her friends would believe it now, in that instant there was a trueness and tenderness to my love. You saw that.

Sometimes to find the origins of your roots, you have to show up, and hope the right people appear. How a Polish blueber...
05/04/2017
TO THE MAN IN MY GRANDFATHER'S SHIRT - By Helen Betya Rubinstein

Sometimes to find the origins of your roots, you have to show up, and hope the right people appear. How a Polish blueberry salesman enlivened a family's past.

So that I wonder: what is the difference between a Jewish man who flees, and the Polish man who stays?

We're often infatuated with the places we visit, but some of us fall into full-fledged love affairs. Read our interview ...
04/28/2017
FIRST LOVE: AN INTIMATE LOOK AT CUBA

We're often infatuated with the places we visit, but some of us fall into full-fledged love affairs. Read our interview with The New Yorker staff writer Jon Lee Anderson about his romance with Cuba.

It seemed to me that in Cuba I was surrounded by people of other colors—and yet there was no racial tension at all.

An ode of admiration to the unlikely recipient of Murray Hill, NY from Anna McDonald
04/20/2017
UNPITCHABLE: MURRAY HILL, NY by Anna McDonald

An ode of admiration to the unlikely recipient of Murray Hill, NY from Anna McDonald

We want to be around the center of something, but not in it; living in Murray Hill betrays certain laws of circumambulation.

A heartbreaking letter painting two portraits of oppression.
04/18/2017
TO THE SRI LANKAN MAID WHO WAS ERASED

A heartbreaking letter painting two portraits of oppression.

I felt guilty for the casual way I took his tongue into my mouth, flouting the laws of a country where you couldn’t even afford visibility.

Are you itching to go Off Assignment? Visit our website to check out our submission guidelines. We're currently looking ...
04/10/2017
SUBMISSIONS

Are you itching to go Off Assignment? Visit our website to check out our submission guidelines. We're currently looking for Behind the Feature pieces, but send us anything within our submission guidelines!

Off Assignment is fueled by a crew of world-wandering creatives: reporters with swollen notebooks, poets who wander, designers with a sense of place... What we have in common is a shared belief: that the detour is the story.

Meera Subramanian writes to a man who showed her the metamorphosis of memory.
04/06/2017
TO THE MAN WHO SAW COBRAS DANCE

Meera Subramanian writes to a man who showed her the metamorphosis of memory.

You told me you never returned to the place of the dancing cobras again. It sounded like a loss you still carried.

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