As a word, curation flirted with disaster in the ’90s, tarnished by overuse. But here at Longreads — before we started to work with journalists and writers to publish deeply reported pieces, fun satire, and thoughtful essays and criticism — our founder Mark Armstrong started a movement, nay a community, with a Twitter hashtag geared to sharing the best writing online. Eleven years later, curation remains our labor of love.
Let’s pause for a moment to consider what reading a great piece of writing does and more importantly, how it makes us feel. I remember when I first fell in love with longform writing. “Nureyev Dancing In His Own Shadow” appeared in the March 1991 edition of Esquire. I was a young adult. I had little exposure to culture. I had zero figs to give about ballet. (My mom tried to put me in ballet at age 5 and as soon as I figured out you had to wear not just a dress (ugh) but a pink dress, I was out.) But I started to read Elizabeth Kaye’s profile and I was rapt. I slowed down to savor it. I re-read it. I discovered a world I knew nothing of, a world far away from my modest upbringing. I hung on every word. For me, this is the feeling I get when my horizon expands, that spark of learning something new, that keen sense of optimism where the rest of the day is filthy with potential.
Since Longreads got started with a tweet in 2009, we’ve highlighted nearly 11,000 pieces from 6500 authors at over 1,000 publications. And, almost every week for the past six years, we’ve shared the pieces we loved best in the Weekly Top 5 Newsletter — available for free — to anyone who’d like to subscribe. Sharing great writing is our raison d’être and we’re asking for your help to keep Longreads free for as many readers as possible.
Great writing teaches. Great writing moves us. It makes us feel good. It fills us with potential. Doesn’t everyone want to feel good and optimistic? Is this a mission you can get behind? We’d love it if you would consider a contribution to our member drive. Thank you for reading.