Writers On Writing / Benjamin Law recommends his favourite pieces of narrative journalism

Clear your schedule. Make a pot of tea. Plump your couch pillows, and settle in for some quality long-form journalism as recommended by writer, author and broadcaster Benjamin Law. Ben’s online course, Writing Narrative Journalism, starts 23 September.

Journals and magazines featuring narrative journalism and writing as recommended as Benjamin.

QAnon is More Important Than You Think | The Atlantic (Adrienne LaFrance, US) Online conspiracy theories were something many of us considered fringe, but lately it feels as if everyone has friends, family members and/or colleagues who have fallen down the rabbit hole. This in-depth feature not only explains the rise of QAnon but projects – terrifyingly – into its future, and frames it as the start of a new religion. 

The Parable of Lyle Shelton and Diane Thorley | The Monthly (Lech Blaine, Australia) A modern classic of Australian political reporting, and a classic Queensland story of regional politics, personal animus and some delightfully batshit characters you could not make up if you tried. Also any interviewer that gets former prime ministers swearing on the record gets a thumbs up from me. Remember Lech Blaine’s name – he’s a star writer in the making. 

Either/Or | The New Yorker (Ariel Levy, US) An older piece, but one of the best by one of my favourite feature journalists of all time, Ariel Levy. Using Caster Semenya – the South African runner with an intersex condition – as her case study, this story throws up bigger questions about gender, sports and society that are hiding in plain sight, and once seen, cannot be forgotten. 

Fiona Apple’s Art of Radical Sensitivity | The New Yorker (Emily Nussbaum, US) One of my favourite profiles of one of my favourite music artists. I defy you not to be fascinated by Fiona Apple after this. 

How the Pandemic Defeated America | The Atlantic (Ed Yong, US) All the numbers and statistics about coronavirus can not only be overwhelming, but also … confusing. However, Ed Yong – one of the most brilliant science writers I’ve ever read – somehow manages to capture the operatic scale of destruction coronavirus has caused, and the extent of the collapse of a superpower before our eyes. 


Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law is a frequent contributor to frankie, the Monthly, Qweekend and Good Weekend. He has written for over 50 Australian and international publications (including the Australian Financial Review, the Big Issue, Smith JournalSunday Life and Crikey) and has been anthologised in the Best Australian Essays twice. He is the author of The Family Law and Gaysia.

Join Benjamin Law for his online course Writing Narrative Journalism, starting Wednesday 23 September. Enrol now>>

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