The author as a young boy in Princeton Park.

home·​sick \ˈhōm-ˌsik\ adj : the feeling of emotional distress when you are away from home and in a new and unfamiliar environment.

What is Homesick?

Homesick is a newsletter about place, identity, and the complicated nature of home. It is written by me, Matthew Newton, and published here on Substack every Sunday. As a topic, “home” is both incredibly narrow and wildly broad. Narrow in how personal histories, geography, and familial ties anchor us in place and time. But broad in the sense that home also exists in memory and travels with us across decades, borders, oceans, and time zones. In simple terms, Homesick is a biography of place. The newsletter’s name, inspired in part by the isolation of the pandemic, is deceptively simple. Look closer, however, and it reveals layers, associations, assumptions, and interpretations that offer infinite paths to follow.

Why subscribe?

An amalgam of cultural criticism, memoir, and reportage, Homesick is, in many ways, an excuse for me to write about three intertwined topics that have long fascinated me: place, identity, and home. Equal parts zine and diary, journal and newspaper, this project is intended as a slow burn—something that builds steam gradually while continuing to evolve. It’s also, quite honestly, a necessary way station for me as a writer at mid-career. Not only as a place to pause and reflect, but as a moment to reconsider what the future might look like. And it doesn’t hurt that I get to think, talk, and write about the American landscape and how where we come from shapes our identities, perceptions, and beliefs. I’m well aware that Homesick may not be for everyone. It is written by me, and perhaps very much for me. But I think you’ll enjoy it too.

When is it published?

A new issue of Homesick is delivered to your inbox each Sunday. When it arrives, you can expect one of the following types of stories:

  • Dispatches: Shortform, blog-like posts that examine place, identity, and home through the prisms of art, film, literature, music, and everyday moments.

  • Essays: Thoughtful, incisive, and far-reaching writing on topics personal, political, and provocative. Sometimes a long read. Other times short.

  • Interviews: Longform conversations with artists, filmmakers, historians, musicians, writers, and more, where we talk about their work and its relationship to their place in the world.

How much does it cost?

Homesick is free. But it is also reader-supported. If you can afford to buy a subscription, I hope you will. Your contribution keeps the lights on.

Who writes it?

Homesick is written by me, Matthew Newton (as noted above). I am a writer, editor, and arts worker from Pittsburgh, PA. My writing has appeared in Guernica, the Oxford American, The Paris Review Daily, 3:AMSpin, Forbes, and more. I’ve been a cultural commentator on NPR and Al Jazeera America, and I’m the author of Shopping Mall (Bloomsbury). To learn more about my work, you can visit my website.

You can also find me elsewhere on the Internet:
Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

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A Biography of Place


Matthew Newton is the author of HOMESICK, a newsletter about place, identity, and the complicated nature of home.