The Chronicles of Now uses fiction to offer a new way of understanding the headlines, stories, and people shaping our world.
How does it work?
We commission major authors to write short stories inspired by news of the day. We pair those fictional works with essential sidebars that explain the basic facts, background, and context for each news story. We conclude each package with a curated list of essential long-form journalism, podcasts, and videos on the subject for those who want to dig deeper.
Are the stories true?
No. They are fiction.
Are any parts of them true?
All the stories begin with the seed of a recent headline in the news. Some include characters and situations drawn from actual events. Others are more speculative. And some take flight into entirely unexpected directions.
So is this Fake News?
No. The fictional stories in the Chronicles of Now are not meant to be read as factual accounts. They are acts of imagination, opinion, and curiosity about what it means to live, in general, and especially during these crazy times.
Why are you doing this?
Because as a culture we’re overwhelmed. We are the most connected and aware generation of all time. But often what we see or hear doesn't fit what we expect or recognize or thought we knew, and none of it seems to stick.
As journalist Peter Baker wrote recently in the New York Times, “The shocker that consumed Twitter three hours ago is so quickly overwhelmed by the next one that it seems impossible to digest any single moment to assess its meaning or consequences.”
We hope these short stories prompt readers to pause and deeply consider a single resonant news story—what it means, why it happened, and why it matters.
But why through fiction?
Because there’s no better way to cut through the noise. In the words of celebrated Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, fiction offers “a second handle on existence." By transporting the reader into the human drama of the real world, the author’s imagination can reveal deeper truths than a newspaper article, analysis, or editorial ever can.
Okay, but what if I want to read actual nonfiction about the topic?
That's what the sidebars are for. The Essentials offer the basic facts, background, and context of each news story. And each package concludes with a list of the definitive and best other journalism relevant to the subject.
Who’s the we?
The Chronicles of Now was created by Tyler Cabot with a lot of help from a lot of other people. Writers, researchers, designers, fact-checkers, spiritual gurus, marketing chiefs, sisters, mothers, fathers, and, most importantly authors, many of whom took a leap of faith to help build something entirely new.
How often do you publish?
We publish a new story every week.
How will I know when you’ve published a new story?
Sign up here and we’ll send each story package straight to your inbox as it's published.
Is it free?
For now, but we’ll be launching a subscription down the road.
What's up with the book links in the author bios?
We're part of Bookshop.org's affiliate program, which means that every time you buy a book from one of the links, you'll be supporting our authors, local bookstores, and the Chronicles of Now.
Can I contribute a story or help?
We’re not currently accepting unsolicited submissions but we’d love to hear from you. And if you want to help, bless you!
- Benjamin Percy
- Carmen Maria Machado
- Colum McCann
- Curtis Sittenfeld
- David Granger
- Vauhini Vara
Site design and development.
Brand and creative direction.
All those gorgeous illustrations.
All those gorgeous email newsletters (which are automated instantly!).