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A Social-Media Experiment in Nonfiction

PUBLISHED: December 7, 2015

#VQRTrueStory is a social-media experiment in nonfiction that delivers stories across platforms—from Instagram to the website to the magazine. Each week, a contributor takes over our Instagram feed, @vqreview, to post original dispatches that tell the stories behind the pictures. The dispatches are then published on our website as a complete essay. With each issue of VQR, we select a handful of dispatches from various contributors to include in the magazine’s #VQRTrueStory column. You can visit the #VQRTrueStory archive to read all the contributions so far. And be sure to follow @vqreview to keep up with the project as it unfolds.

Project Archive


Liskuvate’s Exiles
Megan Buskey in Khyriv, Ukraine

Returning to Nature
Dionne Ford in New Orleans, LA

Red Mountain
Clement Gelly in Erdenet, Mongolia

Sisters at the Falls
Oona Robertson in Niagara Falls, Canada

The Provenance Detective
Emily Ding in London, UK

Kathryn Savage in Tulsa, OK

COVID Dreams
The Nocturnists

Tasting Notes
Erika Koss in Kenya

Bearing Witness
Benita Mayo in the Charlottesville, VA

Dry Days
Tom Haines in the Great Plains

The House That Built Me
Baylea Jones in Southwest Louisiana

Second Wave
Anandi Mishra in Delhi, India

Strange Luck
Rianna Paulina Starheim in Purcellville, VA

Meg Bernhard

Lonely Hearts Club
Emily Ding

Notes on a Ghost TownPhoto by Rebekah Frumkin
R.A. Frumkin in Southern Illinois

In the Underwater World of 2050Photo by Sonnet Mondal
Brian Turner in Kolkata, India
Photographs by Sonnet Mondal

Building Fences
Kenneth Rosen in Feltre, Italy and The Berkshires, MA

Charlie Raboteau, as told to Emily Raboteau, in Philadelphia, PA

After the Old City
Hananah Zaheer in Lahore, Pakistan

PostcardsIllustration by Amitava Kumar
Amitava Kumar in Poughkeepsie, NY

CuarentenaPhoto by Anna Surinyach
Meg Bernhard in Barcelona, Spain
Photographs by Anna Surinyach

The Work of HandsPhoto by Jordan Kisner
Jordan Kisner in New England

Ill NaturePhoto by Dan Schwartz
Dan Schwartz in Quispillaccta, Peru

Fossil CombingPhoto by Emily Ding
Emily Ding in Jurassic Coast, England

Narrative RhythmsPhoto by Rianna Pauline Starheim
Rianna Pauline Starheim in Manassas, VA

The High WindowPhoto by David L. Ulin
David L. Ulin in Los Angeles, California

Tropicana Day TripPhoto by James Sprankle
Ann Neumann in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Photographs by James Sprankle

The North WoodsPhoto by Sara Fox
Porter Fox in Aroostook County, Maine
Photographs by Sara Fox

This Land Is Our Land
Emily Ding in Kelantan, Malaysia

The Right to Be Let Alone
Ann Neumann in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Dancing Days
David L. Ulin in Los Angeles, California

Sunday Market, Tiretti Bazaar
Emily Ding in Kolkata, India

Katherine E. Standefer in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Memory Wars
Emily Ding in Belfast, Ireland

Woe and Wonder
Joshua Wolf Shenk in Los Angeles, California

Will Boast in Serekkunda, Gambia

Walking Away
Julia Cooke in Tahiti, French Polynesia

Michael Snyder in Real de Catorce, Mexico

Under Pressure
Rianna Pauline Starheim in Jefferson, NY

Exile In White
Ruxandra Guidi in Los Angeles
Photographs by Bear Guerra

Ann Neumann in Brooklyn, NY
Photographs by Elizabeth Felicella

Backcountry Politics
Lois Parshley in US National Parks

The Other Chile (Cecilia and Patricia)
Angie Cruz in Santiago, Chile

Dreams of My Mother
Anna March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photographs by Cèdric Von Niederhäusern

Life Is Why
Rianna Pauline Starheim in Alexandria, Virginia

Take ‘Em Down
James McWilliams in New Orleans, Louisiana
Photographs by Julie Dermansky

Neon Havana
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro in Havana, Cuba
Photographs by Mirissa Neff

Dropping In
Bret Anthony Johnston in Desert Hot Springs, CA
Photographs by Bill Driver

Subway Rorschach
Neil Shea in Brooklyn, NY

No Republican Shall Inherit
Randy R. Potts in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Rainbow Weather in Kabul
Rianna Pauline Starheim in Kabul, Afghanistan

Starting Over
Ruxandra Guidi in Los Angeles
Photographs by Bear Guerra

Faith and Its Limits
Ann Neumann in Lancaster County, PA
Photographs by James Sprankle

We All Travel the Milky Way Together
Michael O. Snyder in California

Laura Kasinof in Germany
Photographs by Alex Potter

The Air Keeps It Interesting
Ryan Bradley in Los Angeles

Stony Island Story Problem
Lauren Berlant in Chicago
Art by Stephanie Brooks

To Write About A Hole
Jennifer Kabat in New York City

Saint Coltrane
Anisse Gross in San Francisco

An Audience with Wirathu
Sarah Khatry in Myanmar

In the Powder River Basin
Tom Haines in Wyoming

The Truths of Antarctica
Maggie Shipstead in Antarctica

On the Great Bear Sea
Luke Padgett in Canada’s Kitimat Fjords

On Henry Locke’s Wine Dark Sea
Gaiutra Bahadur in New York

Picturing the Pipeline
Holly Haworth in southwest Virginia

Resilience in East Timor
Jerry Redfern in Southeast Asia

Problem Solving at the MacDowell Colony
Danica Novgorodoff on five artists

His Faithful Servant
Randy R. Potts on LGBT life and Christian faith

In the Shadow of Olympus
Baynard Woods on polytheists in Greece

Jeff Sharlet in Dublin

The Last Days of High Bridge Arms
Lili Loofbourow on San Francisco’s last gun shop

Details From the Fogg Museum
Rachel Cohen on encounters at the Fogg Museum

Hope for Sale
Laura Kasinof on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lesotho

Jamie Alliotts on encounters on the streets of Manhattan

Vestiges of the Socialist Time
Julia Cooke in Mawlamyine, Burma

Lauren Markham on Central American migrants

Elemental India
Meera Subramanian on a changing India


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MP's picture
MP · 6 years ago

Loved Elemental India and Northbound - great idea to integrade image and written storytelling into one. Hope to see more of these stories that take us out of our rosy bubble and show us what world around is like. Maria


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