Colombo, International, Language, Long Reads

Long Form journalism: An invitation to contribute

Long Reads

As many regular readers and commentators on this site know, in January Groundviews launched the Long Reads section. The print media industry in Sri Lanka, for economic and political reasons, does not afford a space for compelling essays on society, politics, the arts, culture, religiosity, literature and other topics. Long Reads on Groundviews aims to provide a platform for serious, vibrant essayists to publish their writing.

Interestingly, long form journalism is going through something of a revival online. The Atavist, a new application for the iPhone / iPad is free to download, but users have to buy essays that are specifically geared for the devices, incorporating not just text, but audio, photography and video as well. Long Reads, a tremendously interesting website that curates essays from many sources on the web, including mainstream print media in the West, serves as the inspiration for GV’s Long Reads section. Then there’s the recently announced Readability, offering a way to both support essayists online, as well as read content in a pure, textual form. Finally, there is Instapaper, a free and easy way to not just curate interesting web pages, but also read them in pure textual form. Instapaper is so good we have incorporated it into Groundviews – allowing any reader to not just format an article in a visually compelling manner and save it for later reading, but also access it through any PC, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone.

But at the end of the day, it’s original, compelling long form content we are interested in and want to support the creation of. To engage the burgeoning readership of Groundviews, we hope that over 2011 readers will send us essays on topics that require a fuller investigation, which for example can range from the art of tea making to Political Opposition in a Nihilistic Sinhala Society.

Essays can bebetween 4,500 – 5,000 words that eschew an academic form of writing for an expression that is sardonic, crisp and pulls no punches.

After the collection of a sufficient corpus of essays, Groundviews may consider publishing a printed volume of the content and relevant commentary.

  • magerata

    I will promise at least continue to read like I do. The content has taught me a lot. But not until I visited SL in the December, believe you 100%. Even though heart broken about the state of the country, now I know better, Who knows, one day I might write!
    Thank you

    • Travelling Academic

      Oh tell us more, magerata, please tell us more. After how long a break did you visit SL, which parts did you go to, who did you speak to and what did you find? Your observations will correct any misunderstandings we might have of aperata in a big way!

      • magerata

        I visited after a very long time (My first adult visit!). Had the opportunity to visit many a places but the hill country, east and northern parts broke my heart. In the tea estates, visiting the homes of lovely people who grow, harvest and process tea, made me throw up.It is not the poverty but the lack of interest to be clean and hygienic. But was amazed by trusting eyes of their children and the want of studies.
        Visiting the North, I sobbed, for those people, listen to the stories told in languages I do not understand, but who needs languages, eyes and faces told me more. I was holding my Moms hand like I did when I was a tiny tot. I was completely lost. Unlike the eyes of hill country children, children of the north had smiles but they were drifting in and out of some blank stares. I felt they were less trusting as the age increased.
        We visited some children who have lost families. There I became the one who gave blank stares. My dear Mom was visibly shaken and I knew she wanted to take them all home.
        I have experienced a few of Californian tremors but I was more shaken by one sweet little kid’s trembling hand I held. I will never forget the “help me” hidden behind her painful smile. I think these kids are lost among the logistics. Egoistic people like us use them for lifting our egos even higher.
        I was also able to hear the stories from higher ups in Colombo as well.
        It is hard for me to understand how we can be so cruel, specially to children. It will take a long time for me to recover but I will.

      • Travelling Academic

        Thanks, Magerata, for the reply. Having grown up in the hill country, and having visited Jaffna around the same time as you did, having been away for 25 years, I know exactly what you mean. That I made no contribution towards slowing down the rise of nationalism and racism, both North and South, is a sense of guilt I have to live with, as I recursively seek salvation in my next glass of wine.

  • ordinary lankan

    Well according to Omar Khayyam you are looking in the right place!

    Congratulations groundviews on one more innovation

    whether long or short
    would it really matter?
    so long as the writers
    have just 2 things
    humility and humour