The Atavist Magazine publishes one blockbuster nonfiction story each month. Our digital-only features are cinematic true stories with in-depth reporting, elegant writing, and the best longform design on the web. Since 2011, we’ve been nominated for nine National Magazine Awards and two Emmys, among numerous other reporting, writing, and design accolades. Many of our stories have been optioned for major Hollywood film and TV projects, and we published the first print collection of our stories with Norton in 2016.
Who We Are
The magazine is constituted from a wide network of writers, fact-checkers, designers, illustrators, and more. Our editors are:
SEYWARD DARBY (EDITOR IN CHIEF)
Seyward is the former deputy editor of Foreign Policy and online editor of The New Republic. She has written for Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Elle, and other publications. Her peculiar name comes from this book. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JONAH OGLES (ARTICLES EDITOR)
Jonah previously worked at Outside, where he was an articles editor, and Cincinnati Magazine. His writing has appeared in Canoe & Kayak, The Fly Fish Journal, and other publications devoted to water sports, even though he now lives in the high desert of New Mexico. You can reach him at email@example.com.
ED JOHNSON (DESIGNER)
Ed is a designer and journalist whose work has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Observer, Politico Magazine, Octavian Media, Capital NY, and other publications. He is currently the creative director at Institutional Investor and Alpha magazines. His work has been recognized by the Society of Publication Designer, the Society of Illustrators, and Best American Infographics.
JOEL LOVELL (EDITOR AT LARGE)
Joel is a former deputy editor of The New York Times Magazine and has also worked at Harper’s and GQ. He is an editor at Pineapple Media, a contributing editor to the radio show This American Life and the podcast Serial, and a writer for various national publications.
EVAN RATLIFF (EDITOR AT LARGE)
In addition to co-founding Atavist and The Atavist Magazine, Evan is an award-winning journalist for The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Wired, where he has been a contributing editor for over a decade. His writing has appeared in numerous Best American anthologies, and he is a two-time finalist for both the National Magazine Awards and the Livingston Awards. Evan was the founding story editor for Pop-Up Magazine and co-hosts the Longform podcast.
The Atavist Magazine accepts pitches for longform, character-driven, narrative nonfiction stories. Please send pitches and proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. We request two weeks to review all submissions.
What we are looking for:
“Narrative nonfiction” can mean different things to different people, but for us it means that characters and story come first. (The best way to understand our approach is to read some of our award-winning pieces.) We are looking for stories with a beginning, middle, and end, stories you can’t stop reading because you can’t wait to see what happens next. Our pieces can be historical or current; they can be about serious social issues or unexpected pop culture developments; they can be driven by investigative reporting or first-person experiences. We’re looking for stories that need to be longer than a typical magazine article, anywhere from 8,000 to 30,000 words. That means they feature extensive reporting and deep research, and the conflict and surprise to carry a reader through to the last word.
Most of our stories are told primarily in text, but we’ve also won awards for our documentary video pieces. We run photography and audio stories as well, as long as they fit the criteria above.
What we are not looking for:
Profiles of well-known figures or profiles that lack a narrative arc, news dispatches or analyses, think pieces, trend pieces, reviews, round-ups on a subject, or any other topic-driven story.