Hello, nice to meet you. We’re The Queue.

Whether you want to use the term #longreads, Big Stories, or just old-fashioned features, there has never been a better time to be a fan of long, in-depth nonfiction writing. But, while there are already fantastic US-based resources out there curating the best of in longform — in particular longform.org, longreads.com, and The Browser — British writing is often overlooked.

So we’ve started The Queue. The Queue aims to celebrate the best in British longform journalism. What that means: writing published in a British publication or by a British writer.

We’re kicking off with our Best Of 2015 — just a handful of stories that have lived long in the memory this year. You’ll find that below. But from here on out we want your nominations — tweet us @Queue_Reads or email us at editors@thequeue.co.uk.

Keep reading.

The Queue team (@olifranklin, @samparkercouk, @stokel, @banham_tom, @josephstash)

St Helena child abuse: how did sex abusers get away with it for so long?

Tom Rowley, The Sunday Telegraph, 18 January 2015

Image by David Stanley/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

From the first line (“They call themselves Saints”), this special report on the quiet secrets of a remote South Atlantic island by Tom Rowley is arresting — and meaningful. A report into the alleged abuse of children was published earlier this month. CSW

Follow the White Ball/The Unhappy King of Snooker

Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 30 March 2015

Image by david_pics/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Ronnie O’Sullivan is not only widely accepted as the greatest natural talent in snooker but is one of British sports most enigmatic and fascinating champions. This excellent profile explores the roots of both the Essex man’s erratic behaviour and his sublime performances at the table. SP

House of Secrets

Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 1 June 2015

Image by newformula/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Who owns London’s most expensive mansion? That’s the mystery at the heart of this engrossing piece about Witanhurst, the grand house with a chequered history dating back to 1913. SP

The Death and Life of the Great British Pub

Tom Lamont, Guardian, 13 October 2015

Image by Kamal Hamid/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

For centuries they were cornerstones of public life in Britain. Now, pubs are closing down at an alarming rate — and not because they’re unpopular. This is the heartening story of one Camden boozer that decided to fight back. SP

Partying in Wartime

Ray Philp, Red Bull Music Academy, 24 August 2015

Image by lichtdefekte/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Through the 90s, the Desert Storm Soundsystem — a Glaswegian rave van daubed in political graffiti — trundled around war zones blasting out techno as a form of humanitarian relief. Ray Philp unpicks its story for Red Bull Music Academy to show how, as party helmsman Keith Robinson puts it, “Music is always one of the first casualties of war.” TB

The Undoing of Ed Miliband — and How Labour Lost the Election

Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 3 June 2015

Image by DECC/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

The 2015 election turned out to be one of the oddest events in recent political history. Politicos and pundits were left scratching their heads as all expectations were confounded. In an attempt to explain just what happened this past May, Patrick Wintour told the story of how Ed Miliband lost the election, one misstep at a time. CSW

How A Fake Viral News Story Wrecked Three People’s Lives

Alan White, BuzzFeed News, 11 June 2015

Image by Hejma/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Santa Claus gets drunk and careens off course in his sleigh, crashing into a wall. It’s the sort of thing that travels round the world and can be quickly debunked. But actions — even fake ones — have consequences in the Polish town of Ustrzyki Dolne. CSW

Cities of the damned

Stuart McGurk, GQ UK, March 2015

Image by European Commission/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

When civil war tears apart a country, its displaced citizens can do little more than make do and mend. Stuart McGurk visits Azraq, a humanitarian camp that has turned into a thriving, bustling town, where life goes on in a way that is both totally ordinary and completely extraordinary. CSW

The Rise and Rise of the Spornosexual

Max Olesker, Esquire UK, 12 January 2015

Image by Lin Mei/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

The most popular story ever to appear on Esquire.co.uk saw its writer undergo an intense body transformation to find out what being ‘ripped as shit’ feels like, exploring the state of modern masculinity along the way. SP

Who killed the 20th century’s greatest spy?

Simon Parkin, The Guardian, 15 September 2015

Image by followtheseinstructions/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

An Egyptian businessman falls five storeys from a multi-million pound London flat. The inquest raises more questions than answers. Simon Parkin follows the life of and conspiracy theories surrounding Ashraf Marwan to Israel, to Egypt, and around the globe, trying to find answers to what happened on a June day in 2007. CSW

Time Gentlemen: When Will The Last All-Male Clubs Admit Women?

Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian, 30 April 2015

Image by Ex-InTransit/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

One of the final bastions of gender segregation in British life is the private members club, where the country’s elite gather to entertain and influence each other. This is the story of one of the oldest, London’s Garrick Club, as it reluctantly debates embracing modernity and finally admitting female members. SP

Water or War?

Chloe Cornish, Northern Correspondent, December 2015 (£££)

A pop-up community has emerged on a sun-drenched mountainside in Iraq as familes flee the tyranny of Islamic State. Chloe Cornish visited this hellish safe haven which at least one local calls ‘Qurriat al-Muwada’: a place that reunites people, provides shelter, and wants no more problems. CSW


Nick Summers, Bloomberg Businessweek, 27 January 2015

Image by Asim Bharwani/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

This story of a gang of ATM smash-and-grabbers is rooted in sleepy suburban Britain. The scenes of the crimes — petrol stations and Co-ops — may be more Pinewood than Hollywood, but the story is riveting, and supplemented by astounding CCTV footage and beautiful infographics. CSW


Sam Parker, Esquire UK, May 2015

Image by HughCL/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Checking phones, riding public transport and living cheek by jowl with flatmates because the property ladder is too difficult to get on means we’re rarely, if ever alone nowadays. Approaching 30, Sam Parker took himself away to a hinterland in the Highlands to find out if solitude changes a man. Forgive the clickbaity tease, but what he found will surprise you. CSW

How Pixar embraced a crisis to save ‘The Good Dinosaur’

Oli Franklin-Wallis, Wired UK, December 2015

Image by Tyler/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

People think they know the Pixar story: a string of successful films, a dalliance away from Disney before being brought back into the arms of Big Mickey. But there’s nuance there: for every success, there are secret failures — and The Good Dinosaur was one of them, until John Lasseter shook things up. CSW

This was never supposed to happen again

AA Gill, The Sunday Times Magazine, 18 October 2015 (£££)

Image by joiseyshowaa/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Gill, perhaps Britain’s most infamous newspaper critic, has said he hopes to be remembered not for his acerbic TV and restaurant reviews but his features work covering the plight of the world’s refugees. This powerful piece, following Syrian migrants as they embark on their long journey through the Balkans, may yet ensure he gets his wish. SP

How a Kid Running an Obscure Music Forum Became the Target of the UK’s Biggest Ever Piracy Case

Joe Zadeh, Noisey, 25 November 2015

Image by jypsygen/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Sometimes the best stories leave you professionally deflated, angry that you were beaten to the punch by someone who did a far better job than you could ever do. When Joe Zadeh’s story on Kane Robinson, the founder of DancingJesus.com popped up on my Twitter feed, I got that feeling of being totally routed. CSW

Behind Dark Justice’s crusade to bring down paedophiles

Chris Stokel-Walker, The Kernel, 12 July 2015

Chris Stokel-Walker/The Kernel

Online vigilantes are posing as children to catch paedophiles and bring them to justice. But do their methods actually work, and what are the risks for all involved? Here Chris Stokel-Walker meets two men devoting their lives to a very modern crusade. SP

Lost At Sea: The Man Who Vanished For 14 Months

Jonathan Franklin, The Guardian, 7 November 2015

Image by Arthur John Picton/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

In 2012, Salvador Alvarenga ran into a storm on his small fishing boat somewhere off the coast of Mexico. He wasn’t seen 438 days. This is the astonishing story of how he survived — and what happened once he was found. SP

How The Mad Men Lost The Plot

Ian Leslie, FT Magazine, 6 November

Image by Classic Film/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence

Mad Men may be popular, but the advertising industry at times appears in its last throes. “No one knows what we do any more,” says one executive. What happened to the ad industry? This story looks at its steady decline. CSW