About Lorain:

Lorain is the title of my Substack because it is the birthplace of Toni Morrison, one of my biggest literary inspirations. The town itself sits right along the Black River in Ohio. It was one of the last stops of the Underground Railroad before some enslaved people crossed into Canada. When I think of Lorain, I think of Morrison. When I think of Lorain, I think of the liminal space of what it means to be free or tethered.

I am terrible with titles because I think about how permanent they can feel. But what I am good at is recognizing which figures have stayed with me throughout my life. From there, I can conjure up places and symbols that may have a nice ring to them.

Lorain is my own individual project that signifies freedom. It is a place where I can run wild with ideas that may or may not be connected to the zeitgeist. This is a space where I will write cultural criticism about current patterns I observe in society and media; book, TV, and film reviews; interviews with other creators and tastemakers; and meditations, both personal and broad.

And best of all, Lorain is a newsletter where I can be closer to my readers without the pressure of ad revenue, traffic, and virality. I will appear in your inbox and you can come and visit whenever you choose. My words and insight will always be there waiting for you.

About Me (Morgan Jerkins):

In 2014, I graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Comparative Literature, and was greeted by the New York publishing world with a string of countless rejections for editorial assistant jobs . Frustrated and hopelessly sad, I moved back home to South Jersey and I discovered the wonders—and troubles—of digital media writing.

I became a prolific freelancer, churning out article after article and  personal essays at a time when the media’s appetite for young women and POC to regurgitate their deepest traumas was insatiable.

By 2016, I had a slew of bylines, an editorial assistant gig (finally!), a literary agent, an MFA from Bennington College, and a book deal from Harper Perennial for This Will Be My Undoing-- my debut.

Since then, I became a New York Times bestselling author, wrote two more books (Wandering In Strange Lands and Caul Baby), held professorships at institutions including Columbia University and Germany’s Leipzig University, and have held editor positions at New York, ESPN, and Medium, among others. I’ve sat on countless panels and done many interviews on what it means to be Black and female in publishing, what it means to be Black and female in digital media, how to get published, how to be a successful freelancer, and all the topics in between.

And frankly, I needed a change in rhythm.

Though I’m still writing books, teaching, and freelancing, I have been disenchanted with the way the media treats those who look like me and those who have even less structural privileges than I do.

Over the past eight years, I’ve seen so many people get destroyed by the industry. They are often underpaid and overworked, exploited and burnt out, silenced and erased. You don’t have to look to the Nieman Journalism Lab or the Columbia Journalism Review to understand journalism’s volatility. Twitter can do that for you.

Long gone are the days when people can expect to stay at a job for decades and comfortably retire somewhere in Florida.


Now, people are getting laid off at annual intervals with pittances for severances (if they even get them). There are more freelancers than jobs. There seems to be not enough money and yet too much money, which is why I’m taking my talent and experience into my own hands.

Why should you pay me?

I can wax poetic at how writers, or creatives in general, aren’t taken as seriously for our labor, but I don’t think you’re the crowd for this. After all, if you were, you wouldn’t be here, right?

Instead I’ll say this: $6 a month is less than your Netflix subscription. $6 a month is about as much as you’d pay for a Matcha Crème Frappuccino at Starbucks. $6 a month is less than the cost of oxtail (which at least is worth every penny).

Point is, I have a lot of knowledge on the intersection of literature, media, publishing, and pop culture. Whether it’s the classroom, the boardroom, or my home office: I’ve worked there, I’ve taught there, I’ve consulted there. And now, I want to spread the wealth.

If you become a paid subscriber, not only will you be helping to support someone like me, in one of the most expensive cities in the world (rent, health insurance, internet and cable bills, etc.), but you’ll help facilitate other community offerings already in the works.

I’m talking guest pieces where I can pay contributors a price that is industry-competitive. I’m talking panel talks where I can pay participants to share their knowledge with you. I’m talking about paying guest editors on a contractual basis in order to create ambitious series on all kinds of topics–the absurd, the unusual, and the mundane.

In short, I am aware of my success and I want to bring the Lorain community along with me.

I hope you’ll be along for the journey.

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From the brain of a Black woman and New York Times bestselling author — straight outta Harlem


Morgan Jerkins

NYT bestselling author | Award-winning journalist | Professor