Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Interview with Evan Ratliff


by Amanda Giracca
Special Thanks to Paige Williams

Evan Ratliff is an award-winning journalist and contributing editor at Wired magazine. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Outside, National Geographic, and many other publications, and he is the co-author of Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World (HarperCollins, 2005). He’s been a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, and his writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best of Technology Writing 2006 and 2010, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. Evan also serves as the story editor for Pop-Up Magazine, the world’s first live magazine.

Ratliff joined our graduate class, Nonfiction Readings: Digital Forms, on Wednesday, October 26 via teleconference, and was able to answer some of our questions regarding emerging digital publications. Our discussion centered around Ratliff’s latest venture, The Atavist, an online platform that publishes longform nonfiction as “entirely digital creations” with multimedia elements. Here’s how The Atavist explains itself:

The Atavist is a boutique publishing house producing original nonfiction stories for digital, mobile reading devices. We created a new genre of nonfiction, a digital form that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books. Publishing them digitally and offering them individually—a bit like music singles in iTunes—allows us to present stories longer and in more depth than typical magazines, less expensive and more dynamic than traditional books.

Most importantly, it gives us new ways to tell some inventive, captivating, cinematic journalism—and new ways for you to experience it.

Amidst all the doom and gloom regarding the state of publishing lately, another mantra is rising out over the rest: If you’re willing to venture into digital forms, then this is an exciting time to be a writer, especially a nonfiction writer. Listen here for one reason why.

–Amanda Giracca