Justin Heckert (2013)

This is a rebroadcast of the original episode of Gangrey: The Podcast, featuring Justin Heckert. It originally aired in January 2013. Heckert talked with host Matt Tullis about his story “The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly,” which ran in The New York Times Magazine in November 2012. The story is about a 13-year-old girl who has a medical condition that makes it so she can’t feel pain. 

Since joining the podcast, Heckert has reported and written a lot of other amazing stories. His story, “Susan Cox is No Longer Here,” ran in Indianapolis Monthly, and was later republished by River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. It’s a haunting piece that looks at what happens when life, and death, don’t go the way we expect it to. 

In March 2014, he wrote a piece on Puddles the Clown for Grantland. In July 2018, he wrote about the last Blockbuster video store for The Ringer. And in August, he wrote about a year-long quest to save an injured loggerhead turtle. That story ran in Garden & Gun magazine.

Tullis also interviewed Heckert a second time in 2015 when he did an annotation of his Men’s Journal story “Lost in the Waves” for Nieman Storyboard.

Heckert has written for dozens of magazines, including Esquire, GQ, ESPN The Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Sports Illustrated. He has twice been named the City and Regional Magazine Association’s writer of the year.

No. 1: Justin Heckert and “The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly

In the first episode of Gangrey: The Podcast, Matt Tullis talks with freelance writer Justin Heckert, who wrote the story “The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly” for The New York Times Magazine. The story was published in November, and is about Ashlyn Blocker, a teenager who suffers from congenital insensitivity to pain.

Heckert has written several amazing stories, some before his Times piece and some after. His story “Lost in the Waves” was anthologized in “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” Heckert also talked about that piece with Tullis for an Annotation on Nieman Storyboard.

His piece “Let Me Live That Fantasy,” published on Grantland, was one of the sites greatest pieces before it shut down in October 2015. His story “Susan Cox is No Longer Here,” published in Indianapolis Monthly in December 2013, was reprinted in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.

Most recently, Heckert wrote the afterword for Walt Harrington’s “Artful Journalism: Essays in the Craft and Magic of True Storytelling.”