Someone asked me yesterday, “John, who are your favorite writers?”
Hotter confession: I haven’t finished a novel in over a decade.
That said, I do read a lot of essays and short stories. But even in that avenue, beyond a couple of A-listers — Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sarah Kendzior, Alexis Madrigal, and the G.O.A.T. George Saunders — and several excellent writers on The Ringer Staff (which was once housed here but now publishes on Vox Media), I can’t name too many off top. Truth be told, most everyone I read is right here.
So, in that spirit, these are my favorite writers on Medium — the ones I read, enjoy, respect and admire the most. Click their names and follow them. You’ll thank me later:
Clear thinker. Clean writer. Philosopher. Super cool chick. Based out of Bucharest, Romania, so you Americans can enjoy those extra “U”s in words like “favourite.” Her essay on Morality and Labels is one of the finer long-reads on this whole site:
A consistently wonderful writer on relationships, emotions and self-improvement. Somehow turned a four-paragraph post with half the sentences starting with “I” into one of the most deeply-felt, evocative pieces of prosetry (that’s “prose that reads like poetry”) I’ve ever read. Here, you can read it, too. Takes 3 minutes:
He’s a self-admitted Bay Area Bro (with discerning and exquisite taste in hip-hop), but — but! — he authors some truly exceptional and emotional confessional pieces, and he runs the ship over at P.S. I Love You, where you’ll find a lot of interesting stories and poems in a similar vein. Here’s his latest. Grab your Kleenex:
A Millennial Bukowski. An absolute prodigy. No one equals her gift for distilling loneliness and heartache. She spins sentences that read like lyrics from your favorite unreleased track by The National. She’s wildly talented, and you get the sense that she doesn’t so much write words but bleed them. But don’t take my word for it: read her yourself. Witty. Wrenching. Wonderful.
She hasn’t graced this site in about a year and a half, but she’s worth calling out because turned a post about her appearance in an ad campaign into a full-fledged global movement demanding gender equality in the tech industry. She’s also a bad-ass human in general. And, fun fact: The post that started it all was my first visit to this site.
Let’s talk about sex, baby. Jessica does this better than anyone on this site. But, that’s an oversimplification. Ms Wildfire also eloquently delves into relationships, love, dating, social critique, anxiety, wellness and so much more.
Kate took a simple lens through which to filter life decision making “What would I do if I knew I might die tomorrow?” And turned it into a world-traveling, self-improving writing style that’s bold, brash and perfectly branded. Here’s a punchy manifesto with six claps. Click it, clap it and fix that.
If you’ve read me, you’ve almost certainly read her already. She’s your coolest friend. She’s a fighter. She’s the take-no-bullshit, get-your-shit-together voice inside your head who’s suis generis on love, life, dating, relationships and loss — wrapping it all in a bow of tales from her own experiences.
This is Medium’s cleanest, crispest writer on Tech, Blockchain and Silicon Valley culture. Her Medium bio reads, “I have a passion for understanding things at a fundamental level and sharing it as clearly as possible.” I can’t say it any better, so I’ll just link to one of the five most-read posts on Medium ever, and leave it at that:
I’m not even sure if she’s graduated college yet. (I think she has.) But, she’s already writing life-help and career coaching pearls that are wise beyond her years. She’s brilliant at talking about goal-setting, action-taking and overcoming personal demons. And, if that’s not enough for you, she also wrote one of the most white-knuckle, roller-coaster short (true!) stories you’ll ever read. Fucking breathtaking:
Uproarious. Delicious. Delightful. Sarah Cooper’s smart-ass satire so perfectly skewers office culture, Silicon Valley startups, that you’ll really question the very nature of your reality — all while laughing harder than you think you ever could while reading a post on Medium. One of this site’s most notorious scribes, here’s the world-famous chart-topping introduction to her work, but don’t stop there. Read it all.
There’s a gaping void of original quality writing on social justice, emerging nations, public policy and cultural criticism on this site. Sarika, editor of Bright Magazine and no sentence-spinning slouch herself, is here to fix that — and make you much, much smarter. Come for the deep insights, stay for the lightning-quick wit.
Poetry seeps from her pores. Reading her feels like warm hug on a summer day. She’s brilliant, profound, emotive, incredible. One of my favorite writers on love, loss, happiness, mental health and humanity writ large. Here’s her latest, but her wildly eclectic body of work is all worthwhile.
Who’s ready to laugh about sadness? In addition to being one of my favorite writers exploring depression, anxiety and mental wellness in general, Stephanie’s stray thoughts on time, humanity, witchcraft, silliness, California-isms, psychedelics and love are crafted with warmth, and peppered with occasional zingers you’ll want to highlight twice.
So many phrases you’ll want to steal. So many sentences you’ll wish you wrote yourself. Each of her pieces crescendo then fold in on themselves. They’re miniature Jenga towers of depth, feeling and clippable snippets worth saving. A writer’s poet, and a poet’s writer.
… is followed by 18 people. That’s a global institutional failure. She also correctly and beautifully used the word “vicissitudes.” Which, just … fuck. She writes like no one. A lot of essays on life, work and happiness — of which many of them will leave you hopeful.
One of Medium’s shining stars. You probably know her already. She doesn’t over-write. She doesn’t mince words. She doesn’t envelope her prose in complex metaphor or allegory. What she does do well — possibly better than anyone — is drawing parallels between her life, heartbreak and travels in Southeast Asia, and turning them into actionable life lessons that will leave you feeling like a better person having read her. (And, fuck, her personal brand is unparalleled.)
This list is alphabetical, but I really did save the best for last. Umair Haque is Medium’s poet laureate, paper of record and in-house philosopher. His essays cover economics, Egalitarianism, existentialism, institutional collapse, present-day politics, personal stories, transcendentalism, and the terrifying folly of Trump-ism, Brexit and the failure of the neo-liberal world order. But, in a word, the common thread that ties all his work together is: Struggle. Umair Haque writes about struggle better, smarter and more eloquently than anyone. Struggle is personal, global and universal … which is why every time you read him, you see a bit of yourself and everyone else in his words. And there’s no greater reward for a reader than that.