Tag Archives: Meaghan O’Connell

Longreads Contributor Meaghan O’Connell Gets a Book Deal — Congrats!

Longreads is proud and excited to announce that one of our writers, Meaghan O’Connell, has sold a book to Little, Brown. We published Meaghan’s epic 14,248-word account of going into labor and giving birth, “A Birth Story,” last November, and it quickly became our most popular story of the year.

Meaghan shared the announcement with us, which was published in Publishers Marketplace:


A huge congrats to Meaghan! We’re looking forward to seeing And Now We Have Everything in bookstores.

Read ‘A Birth Story’

Join Longreads for a Portland Story Mixer, Friday March 27

Longreads is coming to Portland! Join us for a free story mixer on Friday night, March 27, as part of WordPress.com’s Press Publish conference—featuring stories from some of our favorite writers:

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Nathaniel Friedman (aka “Bethlehem Shoals,” writer and founder, FreeDarko.com)

Meaghan O’Connell (author, “A Birth Story”)

Nancy Rommelmann (author, “The Queens of Montague Street”)

Aaron Scott (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

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Friday, March 27, 6:30 p.m.

Embassy Suites Downtown Portland
319 SW Pine Street
Portland, Oregon 97204

Admission: Free

RSVP for the event

Longreads Best of 2014: Essay Writing

We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in essay writing.

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Meaghan O’Connell
Freelance writer, “Birth Story” author, motherhood columnist at The Cut, who believes her best work is at The Billfold.

The Empathy Exams (Leslie Jamison, The Believer)

I did not know who Leslie Jamison was before I read her essay “Empathy Exams” late one night at the pie shop that I use as an office when the library is closed. I was hungry, and it was dark out, and I was very pregnant and needed to get home. But I stayed in that uncomfortable chair and read it the whole way through, bursting with excitement. I G-chatted friends in all caps asking them if they’d read it. I Googled her, saw she had a book coming out, and floated home feeling like, “Yes, let’s do this. Let’s write some fucking personal essays, people!” I think Jamison, especially here, convinced or re-convinced a lot of people of the possibilities and the value of writing in the first person. Of course I think it’s horse shit that it takes a white lady with a veneer of intellectualism to make it okay, but I’ll take it where I can get it. Jamison, for her part, rises to the occasion. She certainly reminded me to hang onto the art of the thing, all the while going deeper, letting the problem of whatever you’re trying to do take up its own space. Read more…

Longreads Best of 2014: Our 10 Most Popular Exclusives of the Year

This year, Longreads worked with a group of outstanding writers and publishers to produce original stories and exclusives that hadn’t been previously published online. It was all funded with support from our Longreads Members. You can read them all here.

Here’s a list of the 10 most popular stories we published this year. Join us to help fund more stories in 2015. Read more…

A Birth Story

Meaghan O’Connell | Longreads | Nov. 6, 2014 | 57 minutes (14,248 words)

Download .mobi (Kindle) Download .epub (iBooks)

It was Monday, June 2nd, and I was wide awake at 6 a.m. Maybe to some of you this hour doesn’t sound remarkable, but for me it was. It was the first day in a lifetime of six in the mornings, and I made the three-hour leap all in one go.

By this point, it was 10 days past my due date, and I had a very specific and recurring fantasy of being moved around town in a hammock flown by a helicopter. I wanted to be airlifted between boroughs.

When I told my fiancé, Dustin, this wish, he was quiet for a second. He had learned to reply to me with caution, but I imagine in this case he just couldn’t help himself.

“Like a whale?” he asked.

I laughed, standing on the curb somewhere. Actually yes, come to think of it: Like a whale.

On the morning of June 2nd I had been waking up “still pregnant” for quite some time—41 weeks and two days to be exact; 289 days. My mom was in town already, at an Airbnb rental a block away. Dustin was done with work. I was chugging raspberry red leaf tea, bouncing on a purple exercise ball whenever I could, shoving evening primrose oil pills up my vagina, paying $40 a pop at community acupuncture sessions I didn’t believe in, and doing something called “The Labor Dance.” The Dance (preferred shorthand) involves rubbing your belly in a clockwise direction—vigorously—and then getting as close to twerking as one can at 41 weeks pregnant.

Read more…