Eva Sommer

“Girl Reporter”: Tracking intergenerational trauma through the story of Eva Sommer, the  inaugural winner of Australia’s first national journalism prize

In 1956, Eva Sommer, 22, won the first-ever Walkley Award, Australia’s equivalent of the Pulitzers, for her article about a stowaway with amnesia and no identification papers. Sommer discovered he was 26-year-old Jacob Bresler, a Jewish immigrant and Australian citizen, accomplishing in days what the authorities had failed to do in months. But when she…

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The priceless happiness that comes with $250

It was the night of a cold winter day—February 6, 2023. I was at home in Eskişehir, Turkey. The night had turned to frost. Suddenly, at 4:21 a.m., the phone rang pathetically. It was very late; I was scared. I felt as if I was about to hear some bad news. The person on the…

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From the Archives: Dispatches from Centerville, USA

A journalist seeks out the heart(s) of America. We were supposed to be better than this. That thought kept running through my head after the 2016 election. I simply couldn’t believe that the country I was born and raised in, the country that took in my Venezuelan immigrant mother, was really as angry, as caustic,…

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Finding a New Normal

Technology and grit are the keys to pandemic-era narrative nonfiction I am a literary journalist, a narrative nonfiction writer. But I am also, for want of a better term, a “cultural anthropologist without portfolio.” (The “portfolio” I am without is a university degree in that subject.) What I do, what I have done for my…

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The Domestication of Disaster

A writer reflects on the challenges of covering environmental catastrophe in longform *Editor’s note: This article is from our archives. It originally appeared in Literary Journalism vol. 15, no. 1 (2021).  When my book Hazelwood came out in June last year, it was born into a world much-changed from the one it had been conceived…

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Remote Immersion: The Power of Not Going There

*Editor’s note: This article is from our archives. It originally appeared in Literary Journalism vol. 14, no. 2 (2021).  Go there. At least once a semester, I write these words on the white board in my journalism classes. The phrase is meant to get my students away from their screens and out into the world….

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“Be That It Made Some Contribution”

A veteran literary journalist reflects on the craft and key stories in his new book, The Detective: And Other True Stories Why did I write these stories? That was my first thought when I read the galley for The Detective: And Other True Stories, in which Mike Sager and Alex Belth, both of Esquire lineage,…

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Matt Tullis working

Bringing Narrative Journalists into the Classroom with “Gangrey: The Podcast”

In the fall of 2012, I was working on a virtual roundtable discussion for the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction focused on how some journalism — narrative specifically — should be considered a form of creative writing. The panel consisted of Ben Montgomery, an enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and founder of the website…

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