Rosi’s Choice

When a young mother fleeing violence in El Salvador faces long odds for asylum, it raises a crucial question: Who deserves sanctuary in America?

Source: VQR
Published: Mar 1, 2018
Length: 33 minutes (8,457 words)

Out Came the Girls

To find belonging, teen girls sometimes form obsessive friendships to fend off the isolation that puberty brings at the twilight of their childhood. In this exceptionally well-researched piece, Alex Mar recalls two real-life events in which teen-girl duos became murderous and why these obsessive friendships devolved into a pact to do evil.

Author: Alex Mar
Source: VQR
Published: Sep 22, 2017
Length: 38 minutes (9,522 words)

In the Land of Vendettas That Go On Forever

For some northern Albanians, justice comes from vengeance. Sometimes vengeance keeps killing for generations.

Source: VQR
Published: Nov 8, 2017
Length: 31 minutes (7,871 words)

Blood Brother

Sarah Smarsh writes about how rich drug companies buy plasma from the poor and working poor — literally feeding their wealth with one of the few renewable resources the poor have to sell — their blood.

Source: VQR
Published: Aug 31, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,883 words)


After a heart attack (perhaps two heart attacks), Jeff Sharlet searches for meaning in his own mortality, “This brilliant darkness, with which I am coming to terms.”

Source: VQR
Published: Jul 1, 2017
Length: 8 minutes (2,022 words)

A Kingdom for a Horse: Kokpar and the Future of Kazakhstan

“[N]owhere in this region is the contrast between the contemporary and the ancient higher than in Kazakhstan. And nowhere is the interplay between the two more starkly embodied than in professional Kazakh kokpar.”

Author: Will Boast
Source: VQR
Published: Jul 3, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,100 words)

They Call It Canaan

In the aftermath of disaster, as new communities thousands-strong coalesce in the countryside around Port-au-Prince, Haitians ask: what makes a city?

Source: VQR
Published: Apr 3, 2017
Length: 29 minutes (7,451 words)

Here Be Dragons: Finding the Blank Spaces in a Well-Mapped World

Maps are how we orient ourselves, and how we donate a place’s value — and by extension, the value of that place’s inhabitance. What does that means for the place still left un-mapped?

Source: VQR
Published: Jan 2, 2017
Length: 23 minutes (5,925 words)

Fine Dining

One New Orleans man reflects on the many unflattering racial layers of life of his city. “There are four of us. Four African Americans out of 280. One from a class of the early eighties. Two from the nineties. And me representing the 2000s.”

Source: VQR
Published: Oct 1, 2016
Length: 16 minutes (4,211 words)

Prince of Peace

San Salvador’s upstart mayor, Nayib Bukele, has promised a new way forward for a city besieged by decades of violence. His biggest obstacle, however, may not be the city’s gangs, but the city’s idea of itself.

Source: VQR
Published: Oct 5, 2016
Length: 25 minutes (6,425 words)