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Julia Cooke

A VQR Contributing Editor, Julia Cooke’s essays and reporting have appeared in A Public Space, Salon, Tin House, Smithsonian, The Best American Travel Writing 2014, and elsewhere. She is the author of The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba (Seal, 2014), and Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am (Houghton Mifflin, forthcoming 2021).


Photo by Alice Proujansky

Intimate Odyssey

December 3, 2020 | Essays

Modern Motherhood and the Birth Narrative

<em>Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion</em>. By Michelle Dean. Grove Press, 2018. 384p. HB, $26.</p>

A Girl Like You

Fall 2018 | Criticism

In his introduction to the first New Journalism collection, published in 1973, Tom Wolfe lists a handful of reporters from the 1930s and ’40s as “Not Half-Bad Candidates” for the title of progenitors of the form, including John Hersey, A. J. Liebling, and George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway’s reportage from Europe. Subsequent anthologies and textbooks on twentieth-century literary journalism mostly agree—including, from the stacks I’d been browsing, The Gang That Wouldn’t Write Straight, a family tree sort of account of “the new journalism revolution; the herculean anthology The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism; and True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism, which essentially unpacks the historical context for this writing.

Photo by Karen Ryan

Walking Away

Summer 2018 | Essays

  1. How about it? one of the men said to Karen on that first humid night in Tahiti, March 1970. The Endeavour II’s crew still numbered a few short. Her decision was immediate. She sent a letter to her supervisor at the airline she worked [...]

Photos by Julia Cooke

Vestiges of the Socialist Time

December 21, 2015 | Articles

The third installment of #VQRTrueStory—our new social-media experiment in which stories and images cross platforms, from Instagram to the website to the magazine—features Julia Cooke in Mawlamyine, Burma.

Michael Eastman

Waiting for Exile

Spring 2014 | Essays

“I think I know who can find you an apartment,” Lucía said. I was on her couch picking at its fraying white vinyl. My address book lay open on my knees. I’d moved to Cuba with two suitcases, a ten-​month student visa, plans to take a [...]

Orozco throwing boomerangs at his Pennsylvania farm, 2013. (Oskar Landi)

Circling Back

Winter 2014 | Profiles

Artist Gabriel Orozco doesn’t necessarily want to disappoint, nor does he want to fail, not in a literal sense. Rather, he wants to protect his right to be a beginner.

Photo by Jason Florio


Spring 2013 | Reporting

In light of President Obama's restoring of diplomatic relations with Cuba, VQR presents some of our best stories about the island and its people.