8 Newsletters, Written by Women, That You’ll Want in Your Inbox
These newsletters will quickly become must-reads in your inbox.
“Newsletter” hasn’t always been a sexy word. But that’s changing, thanks to a new wave of insightful, thoughtful and hilarious writers eager to share their stories and opinions and observations on the world.
Below, we’ve rounded up our favourite newsletters written by women in Canada, the U.S., England, and France that will get you up to speed on current events, challenge your ideas and, undoubtably, entertain.
(Related: Meet Best Health’s 2020 Women of the Year)
That’s What She Said by Anne T. Donahue
Subscribe if: You crave relief
Known for her super relatable personal essays, Anne T. Donahue is a writer based in Cambridge, Ont., and the author of Nobody Cares. She started the bi-monthly(-ish) newsletter “That’s What She Said” in 2015, covering friendship, mental health, and the messiness of life. Donahue gets admirably real in her newsletters, opening up about the fears and pressures she experiences in her mid-thirties.
“What makes me miserable/exhausted/annoyed/frustrated/etc. is the idea that to achieve anything, you must be exhausted;” she wrote recently, “that to ‘get’ anywhere, you have to ‘hustle’ and ‘grind’ and if you don’t, then I guess we all know why you didn’t ‘make it.’”
Donahue also shares her frustrations with typical “feel-good” wellness notions: “I don’t think many things have f—ed me up as much as forced positivity; as much as the belief that. .. everything you say and think is creating a manifestation. . . . I always want to be the person you can plop down on a bench next to, tell me how f—ed up you feel about everything, and have me tell you that absolutely everything is shit, but you’re not stuck tunnelling through it on your own.”
Sign up for That’s What She Said.
Friday Things by Stacy Lee Kong
Subscribe if: You love pop culture
Writer and editor Stacy Lee Kong’s newsletter, “Friday Things,” offers a deep dive into the hottest pop culture topics, from news stories to celebrity gossip. It’s basically always a step ahead of what everybody will be/should be talking about.
She offers smart insights and thoughtful commentary on a huge range of stories, from Kamala Harris’s views on the police, to Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ final season (“Ending the show is just a move toward a business model where the family monetizes their audiences directly instead of through a third party”). It’s quickly become a must-read in this category.
Sign up for Friday Things.
The Knowhow by Wing Sze Tang
Subscribe if: You love to read about inspiring women
Toronto-based lifestyle journalist Wing Sze Tang started “The Knowhow” in August, as a place to feature “stories and strategies from women sparking change.” In her first dispatch, Tang wrote about runner Deena Kastor, the author of Let Your Mind Run, who improved her athletic performance by paying attention to her mental game. For the next installment, Tang interviewed one of the founders of The Gist, another newsletter about sports run by women. She shared how she and her co-founders got started, scored $50k in Facebook ads, and eventually made it on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the media category for 2020.
Each newsletter also includes a roundup of must-read stories (like how having an alter ego can benefit you), and suggestions on what to read, listen to, and watch now.
Sign up for The Knowhow.
At the End of the Day by Hannah Sung
Subscribe if: You crave perspective
Writer, producer and podcaster Hannah Sung started “At the End of the Day” earlier this year—a newsletter that offers a people-first perspective on the news. Over the last few months, she’s covered everything from pandemic exhaustion and fatigue (“When do we get to cancel Covid?”) to how to be a better citizen of the world (“Feel guilt over your privilege? Guilt isn’t useful, back up and try again.) and was a tireless and outspoken advocate for a safe return to schools this fall.
She also includes interviews and tips on how to boost emotional health—one recent post on coping mechanisms included book recommendations that can double as a dose of therapy: “The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van der Kolk is a classic. Trauma is Really Strange by Steve Haines is an amazing, non-judgmental explainer on trauma, and our biological responses, and can be read in 15 minutes.”
Sign up for At the End of the Day.
Food and Other Things by Tara O’Brady
Subscribe if: You love food
Canadian food writer Tara O’Brady (author of the fantastic cookbook Seven Spoons) debuted a new newsletter called “Food and Other Things,” which include thoughts on such topics as store-bought peanut butter (“the full-on-sweet, absolutely-industrial stuff”), recipes (including one for a heavenly charred, cheesy creamed corn bake) and a round up of thought-provoking books, articles and posts under the heading “Things I would text if I had your number.”
Sign up for Food and Other Things.
The Unpublishable by Jessica L. Yarbrough
Subscribe if: You want a different perspective on beauty
Jessica L. Yarbrough is a writer from Savannah, Ga., who became passionate about the beauty world after developing chronic dermatitis. With her work in top magazines, Jessica covers everything from taboo to woo-woo topics. She started the newsletter “The Unpublishable” in May to share critiques about the industry.
So far, she’s debunked myths about oil-free products (typically just full of silicone, she says, to improve the texture, but coats the skin and has zero long-term benefits), explored how products may be making your skin worse (“acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis are on the rise, in lockstep with the number of skin-care offerings on the market”) and challenged the idea that women wear makeup just “for ourselves.” (“The fact that makeup delivers such a powerful confidence boost should start a conversation, not end it. It should prompt us to dig deeper, to ask why it makes us feel confident.”) She’s also tackled the lack of diversity at beauty brands (“A lack of representation on Instagram…contributes to the ‘colonization’ of modern media, which can have far-reaching mental and physical effects.”).
Sign up for The Unpublishable.
The Meander by Dolly Alderton
Subscribe if: You seek comfort through nostalgia and humour
Dolly Alderton is a dating columnist, journalist, memoirist (Everything I Know About Love), and co-host of the popular news and pop culture podcast “The High Low.” The Meander is her monthly newsletter filled with sharp observations, reflections on the current climate, and nostalgic musings (such as this gem about a day at the beach: “I like wind and barnacles and the filthy smell of seaweed. I only want a thin towel to lie on, one that’s a bit too small….give me bottles of beer that have gently cooked in the heat of a tote bag all day and a furtive piss behind a rock.”).
Also included in her newsletters are book, music, and recipe suggestions, such as Ina Garten’s mustard fish, which she says “tastes a bit like an upmarket McDonalds fillet-o-fish.”
Sign up for The Meander.
Lettre Recommandée by Lauren Collins
Subscribe if: You’d rather be in France
Lauren Collins is an American staff writer for The New Yorker, author of When in French, and lives in Paris. A couple of months into lockdown, she started a monthly newsletter covering current events in France and around the globe (like the recent discovery of new letters between Marie Antoinette and Axel de Fersen) and shares links to recent noteworthy and amusing articles.
Each newsletter includes a section titled “Académie franglais,” where she reveals a delightful quirk about the French language (kids in France call this post-quarantine period “le déconfifi,” meaning, “the unconfirmed”), and another section where she features a must-try French recipe (such as one for sangria that requires not just any red wine, but a Bordeaux).
Sign up for Lettre Recommandée.
Love these newsletters? Show it by sharing them with family and friends—and consider making a donation to the writers, of course.
Next, check out the amazing podcasts that will shake up your quar-routine.