The Best American Magazine Writing 2020

Sid Holt


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Columbia University Press
5 January 2021
ISBN: 9780231198011
496 pages

From the publisher

The Best American Magazine Writing 2020 brings together outstanding writing, from in-depth reporting to incisive criticism. The anthology features excerpts from major projects that challenge American certitudes: the Washington Post Magazine's "Prison" issue, detailing the scope of mass incarceration, and the New York Times Magazine's "The 1619 Project," which recenters the nation's history around slavery and its legacies. It includes extraordinary globe-spanning journalism, including pieces on the genocide against the Rohingya (New York Times Magazine) and the unintended consequences of a dengue fever vaccine (Fortune). Pamela Colloff details prosecutors' reliance on an untrustworthy jailhouse informant (New York Times Magazine in partnership with ProPublica), and a ProPublica series investigates the disaster that befell the USS Fitzgerald.

The anthology showcases the work of remarkable stylists, including Jia Tolentino's cultural commentary (New Yorker) and Ligaya Mishan's columns on food and culture (T: The New York Times Style Magazine). Columns by s.e. smith consider disability (Catapult), and the DeafBlind poet John Lee Clark writes about art he can touch (Poetry). Jordan Kisner visits a Martha Washington-themed debutante ball in Texas near the Mexican border for The Believer, and Jacob Baynham offers a moving portrait of his father-in-law (Georgia Review). Arundhati Roy excoriates the increasing authoritarianism of Modi's India (The Nation in partnership with Type Media Center). The anthology concludes with Jonathan Escoffery's short story of homesickness for Jamaica, "Under the Ackee Tree" (Paris Review).