People

We are journalists, writers, editors, designers, coders and of course, fervent readers. We had ideas about what we want to create, but we weren’t going to wait for the publishing world to come around to us. We started with a monthly publication, The Atavist, which features award-winning original pieces of longform, narrative nonfiction. We’ve since expanded with Atavist Books, an innovative digital and print publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction books and singles. Our coders and designers also built Creatavist, the software that powers all our publishing (and can do the same for yours).

Atavist was founded in 2009 based on the ideas of three guys in a bar, and launched in 2011.

Evan Ratliff

(CEO/editor)

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Evan is an award-winning journalist for The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Wired, where he has been a contributing editor for over a decade. His 2009 Wired story “Vanish,” about his attempt to disappear and the public’s effort to find him, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for feature writing. (He has been a finalist three times, as both writer and editor.) His writing has appeared in numerous Best American anthologies, and he is a two-time finalist for the Livingston Award. Evan also serves as the story editor for Pop-Up Magazine, the world’s first live magazine, and cohosts the Longform podcast.

Jefferson Rabb

(CTO/creative director)

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Jefferson is a programmer, web designer, app developer, and game builder who has been creating innovative websites for the publishing world for over a decade. He has created a unique digital presence for numerous bestselling authors, including Haruki Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri, Laura Hillenbrand, Joshua Ferris, Gary Shteyngart, and many others. He previously worked at MTV.com, Sephora.com, the Shooting Gallery, and Mutation Labs. Go here to check out his non-Atavist work. 

Nicholas Thompson

(consultant)

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Nicholas is the editor of The New Yorker’s website and the critically acclaimed author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War (Henry Holt, 2009). He is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and a contributing editor on both CNN International and Bloomberg Television, where he discusses technology news several times a week. Prior to his current job, he was a senior editor at The New Yorker, a senior editor at Wired, a senior editor at Legal Affairs, and an editor at Washington Monthly

The Atavist Books team operates independently to commission, edit, and produce literary fiction and nonfiction, in digital and print form.

Frances Coady

(President and Publisher)

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Frances is president and publisher of Atavist Books and is a veteran publisher and editor. She was the founding publisher of Vintage paperbacks and Random House’s literary division in the UK. She also relaunched Granta Books and established Picador USA as a major literary trade paperback house.

Kianoosh Hashemzadeh

(Associate Editor and Producer)

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Kianoosh is a graduate of the New School’s MFA program in creative writing and McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies, where, for her master’s thesis, she conducted a year-long ethnography of Iranian immigrants living in Montreal. Prior to working at Atavist Books, she worked in the editorial departments of Picador, the New Press, and Conjunctions. In her spare time, she enjoys pencil drawing, gardening, and writing short fiction and essays.

Alexis Gargagliano

(Executive Editor)

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Alexis is executive editor at Atavist Books. She spent the early days of her publishing career in the marketing department of Simon & Schuster and the editorial department of Knopf, and was an editor at Scribner for 11 years. She enjoys collaborating with writers to produce award-winning fiction and narrative nonfiction and has had the good fortune to work with such writers as Uwem Akpan, Anita Amirrezvani, Matt Bondurant, Staceyann Chin, Alison Espach, Cristina García, Linda Grant, Charles Johnson, Tracie McMillan, Jen Percy, and Elizabeth Weil.

Christian Smythe

(Vice President of Business Operations)

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Christian is vice president of business operations at Atavist Books and oversees planning and strategy, business development, marketing, and a host of other things. He has worked in digital publishing and ecommerce for over 13 years, both on the publishing side at Simon & Schuster and Penguin and on the digital retail side as director of Sony’s Reader Store, where he oversaw major shifts in the ebook retail industry, multiple site redesigns, and the global expansion of the ebook market. 

Derrick Schultz

(Digital Design and Production Manager)

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Derrick oversees digital design and production at Atavist Books. Prior to Atavist, he was VP of Design at Open Air Publishing, a startup producing digital-first how-to books for Apple platforms. As a consultant, his clients included Metropolis Books, Sony, and UCLA. Derrick’s work is included in the collection of the Denver Art Museum and has received awards from AIGA and Print magazine.

The Atavist team assigns, edits, and produces our monthly publication of narrative nonfiction, including the multimedia experience we create for each one.

Megan Detrie

(producer)

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Megan is a reporter and producer fascinated with how journalism is being reimagined through new media tools. While she was based in the Middle East and North Africa region for seven years, her work focused on social and cultural shifts in Egypt after the January 25 uprising. She has reported for Monocle radio, Marfa Public Radio, and the National, as well as many other publications. Megan is a graduate from the radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Charles Homans

(executive editor)

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Charlie has written for The New York Times Magazine, The AtlanticThe Washington PostSlateThe Economist, and many other publications. He was previously a special correspondent for The New Republic, features editor of Foreign Policy, an editor at Washington Monthly, and a newspaper and public-radio reporter in Washington, Wyoming, and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. He has received the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Award, was a finalist for the Livingston Award for national reporting, and has been anthologized in the Best American Science Writing series. He started his career covering the coal-mining industry for The News-Record in Gillette, Wyoming. 

Gray Beltran

(design director)

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Gray is a designer, photographer, and journalist who has written about film and music for newspapers in Southern California. He is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and the literary journalism program at the University of California, Irvine. In 2011, he traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories as a fellow in the Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and the Spiritual Life. 

Our talented group of designers and coders are the folks who build Creatavist, the software that underlies everything Atavist does.

Amelia Kaufman

(Front End Designer/Developer)

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As a journalist, designer, and coder, Amelia is fascinated by the intersection of journalism and technology. She completed her BA in liberal arts at Sarah Lawrence College, studied at Oxford University’s Wadham College, and received her MS at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she majored in interactive producing and magazine editing. A Northern California native, she is also an avid music listener, food eater, and travel enthusiast.

Oliver Budiardjo

(Android developer)

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Oliver has been developing for the Android platform since graduating from New York University, where his studies focused on mathematical computing. His interest in mobile application development is motivated by making life more efficient for people invested in the future of technology. His other endeavors are centered on bringing technology, music, and good food to the people around him.

Tom Bubul

(quality assurance))

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Tom is a writer and painter formerly based in Providence, Rhode Island. He documents and posts about his work at tombubul.info

Dylan Greif

(Head of Design)

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Dylan is a designer and writer. He has worked at Etsy, Local Projects, Macmillan Publishers, Big Human, and Barclays Capital designing books, stories, installations, games, and apps. He earned his MFA in graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design and his BA in Creative Writing at Cornell. On the side, he hosts the IM Readings series, crafts paper projects, and has brunch.

Jeff Sisson

(senior developer)

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Jeff writes artful code, often about cities. Recent projects have shown at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, have been published in the New City Reader and the Younger Than Jesus Artist Directory, and are continuously updated online at ilikenicethings.com

Thomas Rhiel

(Director of Reader Experience)

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Thomas is a designer, web developer, and editor interested in creating beautiful online reading experiences. He comes to Atavist from Google and is a founding editor of BKLYNR, which publishes in-depth stories about Brooklyn.

Our business and community teams work with users of our Creatavist software to ensure they have the best possible experience—and build the best possible stories, books, and apps.

Benjy Mercer-Golden

(Intern)

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Benjy fell in love with digital media as editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, realizing that he could use it to stretch dreaded word count limits better than in print. He’s currently studying history and political theory at Stanford, hoping to graduate in 2015. Benjy has spent the last few summers working for Facebook, the venture capital firm General Catalyst and Senator Dianne Feinstein. In his spare time, he loves eating, reading, hiking and exploring new music.

 

Nick Greene

(Business Development Associate)

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Nick takes his approach to building client relationships from his time as an editor at Simon & Schuster, where he spent three years developing and championing author’s projects. Before joining Simon & Schuster, Nick graduated from Brown University with a degree in nonfiction writing and held internships at Scholastic, McSweeney’s and n+1. He lives in Brooklyn with several cacti.

Michael Hicks

(office manager)

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Mike comes to Atavist following an internship at MAC Group, where he worked as a studio assistant. He equates being an office manager with being on set at a photo shoot, doing whatever he can to help keep the operation running smoothly. In his spare time, he’s a photographer and multimedia producer, where his primary interest is in using his camera as a tool to explore the world and forge connections with people. He is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, where he produced in-depth pieces about the people of Maine.

Olivia Koski

(head of community)

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Olivia began her career at an aerospace company developing high-power lasers for the military. She has an MA in journalism from New York University, and her writing on science, technology, magicians, and lasers has appeared in Wired and Popular Mechanics. In her spare time, she lectures about the nuances of laser weapons, performs science-outreach theater with Guerilla Science, and makes documentaries.

Crystal Fawn Williams

(director of engagement)

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Crystal spent years working with organizations that are committed to innovative solutions to the challenges of contemporary publishing. Before coming to the Atavist, she worked as the sales and marketing director at OR Books, an independent, progressive publishing house. She spends her free time convincing people to read more, and watches at least one art film a week. 

Inés Pacheco

(chief revenue officer)

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Inés comes to Atavist from The Wall Street Journal, where she focused on advertising strategy and global sales operations. She started her career in publishing as a travel writer for Let’s Go and soon realized she preferred the business side of the publishing business. A former management consultant for large media companies, she likes being able to wear sneakers to work. When not thinking about digital media, Inés is usually chopping vegetables to put in her lunchbox.