Larissa MacFarquhar: The In-Depth Writer

Stefan Sujansky, Political Editor

On Tuesday, the Woodside World staff had the honor of receiving Larissa MacFarquhar, a staff writer for the New Yorker, where she has authored dozens of articles, including Building a Prison to School Pipeline and Learning Trump Won, In West Virginia.

As a writer for a magazine and not a daily newspaper, MacFarquhar is able to spend months researching a topic before editing and publication, allowing her to truly find depth and meaning in people’s emotions and situations. This can be refreshing for those used to reading newspapers, as it’s something that’s often overlooked in the hectic reporting leading up to a daily newspaper article.

In an interview with the Guardian, MacFarquhar says, “I’m trying to get a sense that you are inside the mind of the person so you understand what moves them, what drives them.”

While her articles may range from topics having to do with politics to those having to do with culture, her latest writing has been focused on the election and social issues.  For instance, in In the Heart of Trump Country, she focuses on the reasons why the state of West Virginia experienced the 180-degree turn that switched it from a deeply Democratic state to a deeply Republican one over the course of one election.

MacFarquhar also published a book in 2015, entitled, “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help.”  In this work of nonfiction, she explores why “do-gooders,” or people who spend their entire lives helping others, make people uncomfortable.

A review by online magazine Slate declares that, “MacFarquhar provides a capsule history of the mistrust the breed has inspired, culminating in a consideration of what she regards as the do-gooder’s most implacable and persuasive critic: the modern novel.”

Needless to say, the Woodside World feels incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet this talented writer and thanks her for her guidance.