Women We Read This Week

Women We Read This Week

Meredith Broussard's "Why Poor Schools Can't Win at Standardized Testing" on The Atlantic Forget for a moment the irony of an article critiquing financial biases in public education leading to a pop-up ad for a $50,000 Masters of Education program at USC. Meredith Broussard's work of investigate journalism digs into the flawed system of standardized testing that has ... [Continue Reading]

Photo: Jeff Archer


If you enjoy this story, please consider supporting Vela on Kickstarter! We thank you infinitely for your support. Because of the fog, no one can enter San Quentin. Inmates must remain in their cells to be counted. We must remain on the outside. Nearly 100 people stand around, chatting, waiting to enter in order to watch prisoners perform a series of drama sketches, ... [Continue Reading]


On Reading a Killer’s Manifesto

Over Memorial Day weekend, I enjoyed an idyllic three days with friends. When they left on Tuesday, I returned to the world and caught up on the news I’d been missing. I’d heard of the Isla Vista shooting, but it wasn’t until Tuesday where I finally learned of all the details. While I had been blissfully bouncing my friends’ new baby on my knee, letting him wrap ... [Continue Reading]

Photo © Itzel Aguilera.

Documentary: If Images Could Fill Our Empty Spaces

Alice Driver, one of Vela's staff writers, recently completed her first documentary, If Images Could Fill Our Empty Spaces. The film explores the complicated relationship between violence and photography in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Watch it below, and then read an interview with Alice about making the film. Inhabiting the Lives of Others: An Interview with Alice ... [Continue Reading]


Fire Ants

  *Selected by Paul Theroux as a notable essay in The Best American Travel Writing 2014 In those first months living in El Salvador, had I walked down a village street and seen young men leaning against gaping doorframes, their eyes steady upon me, I would have read the wrong story. Then, I could barely speak, let alone interpret what signs I might have seen: a ... [Continue Reading]


That Spanish September

When I graduated from college, in the spring of 2001, it seemed to me that where I situated myself, where I’d been and wherever I went next, indicated who I was. Place was like fashion, a signifier like a college sweatshirt. But place was also a passport, a record of collected stamps and visas, sure, but a ticket elsewhere. And since I had always admired beyond limit ... [Continue Reading]


The View from the Sitting Room

  One morning, the women in the Kabul house awoke with a particular sense of purpose. After the dawn prayer, when Nazo would usually roll back into bed and sleep in as long as she could, Nafisa nudged her sister-in-law and marched her toward the kitchen. As foreigners and guests of the family, my two American colleagues and I were exempt from early risings, but I ... [Continue Reading]

Photo: Yann_G

Still Moments in Vampire Town

“There’s this moment of still right before it happens.” The first time, she was in a car. A man came to the window, reached in and held a machete under her friend’s chin. “But I knew,” Melissa told me. “Like, right before it happened. We were sitting in the car and I just kept thinking, ‘She should roll up her window. She really shouldn’t have her ... [Continue Reading]

Photo: The U.S. Army.

A True War Story

If you enjoy this story, please consider supporting Vela on Kickstarter! We thank you infinitely for your support. Columbus, Georgia, is, above all else, an Army infantry town, and it showed in the crowd on the Friday night that Tim O’Brien came to tell war stories: it was an audience of windbreakers and baseball hats marked by military insignia; square jaws and ... [Continue Reading]


Lessons of Grief

The day that it happened, the United States Postal Service unveiled The Simpson’s collectors’ set—a five-stamp commemorative booklet featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, each set against solid, neon backgrounds. A father in Cheyenne, Wyoming took a hammer to his daughter’s cell phone after learning the girl, thirteen, sent and received 20,000 text ... [Continue Reading]