The Atlantic expands publication of short stories, with launch of Fiction section

New section debuts with “Birdie,” a short story by Lauren Groff

The Atlantic’s archives are teeming with the bylines of some of the greatest literary writers of the past two centuries—Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, James Baldwin, Edith Wharton, Chinua Achebe, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, John Updike—many of whom made their debuts in the magazine. Continuing in this tradition, The Atlantic is today launching a new Fiction section, which marks a commitment to publish original fiction regularly on the site, in addition to several times each year in the magazine.

The section debuts with “Birdie,” a new story by Lauren Groff (whose first story in The Atlantic appeared in the magazine's 2006 fiction issue).

In an introduction, executive editor Adrienne LaFrance explains why we need stories, particularly in this current moment: “The thinning of print magazines this century has often meant a culling of fiction. There has sometimes been a vague sense that rapid technological change would push people toward nonfiction instead; that concrete facts might be valued over imaginative exploration and existential truth.”

Original fiction will complement the site’s Books section, launched in 2018, which publishes reviews, criticism, essays, and author interviews. The fiction expansion is being led by senior editor Thomas Gebremedhin.

Groff’s new short story, “Birdie,” considers the lifelong secrets among four childhood friends who have reunited in a hospital, as the title character reaches the end of her life. In an accompanying interview with deputy editor Ross Andersen, Groff describes what it’s like to write about sex after #MeToo, how fiction can be used to reexamine relationships, and how she writes such vivid scenes.


Media Contact / Helen Tobin / The Atlantic /