The Toast was an American anthology, humor and feminist writing website, founded by editors Nicole Cliffe and Daniel M. Lavery (né Ortberg) and publisher Nicholas Pavich.[1][2][3][4] It was active from January 2013 through July 2016. The website was known for its parodic reworkings of classic literature and art.[5] Lavery has described its target market as 'librarians'.[6][7][8][9] The Toast has also published on feminism, LGBTQIA+ experiences, and ethnicity-related topics, including a lengthy series on adoption.[10][11][12] At the site's debut, Cliffe and Lavery described its "stance," noting that "We strive to be intersectionally feminist. We are pro-choice. We are pro-queer. We are pro-trans. We strive to feature writing from women of all ethnic backgrounds[.]"[13] Its name originates from the toast of the British Royal Navy hoping for "a willing foe, and sea room", which was used as its slogan.

The Toast
The Toast logo.svg
Type of site
EditorsDaniel M. Lavery
Nicole Cliffe
Launched7 January 2013; 7 years ago (2013-01-07)
Current statusInactive

Lavery and Cliffe previously both wrote for The Hairpin, through which they met.[14] Lavery's books, Texts from Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster, are developments of his writing on The Toast.[15][16][17][18][19][20] From October 15, 2014 to September 2015,[21] the project also included a vertical called The Butter; led by Roxane Gay, The Butter focused on personal essays and cultural criticism.[22]

Co-founder Nicholas Pavich, who was credited as publisher, left the site in summer 2015.[3] Lavery and Cliffe announced 13 May 2016 that they were "closing" the site as of 1 July 2016.[23] They cited declining advertising revenues and the difficulties of managing the website alongside their writing careers.[24][25][26] Lavery had previously commented that sustaining the rate of material needed to earn advertising revenue was difficult: "I generally write anywhere from 2-4 posts a day, and they're very rarely blog posts, it's almost all original fiction or humor or essays and a lot of our site's traffic is dependent on that. Luckily, I enjoy it, but it can also be creatively demanding, and if we have a slow day, it's kind of my fault and if I half-ass it, we look stupid and boring."[27] The Toast website remained online after the closure, with infrequent updates, through 28 Jan 2018.[28]

The final contribution to the website before it ceased regular publication was a column by Hillary Clinton, in which she reflected on the blog's importance to female writers.[29][30]

In January 2018, The Toast was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its web archives.[31] The completed archive consists of captures from September 19, 2013 to November 11, 2016.[32]

Notable contributorsEdit

Name Role Notes
Nicole Cliffe Founder, Co-Editor[33], Writer Work including "Link Roundup!" series[34]
Daniel M. Lavery Founder, Co-Editor[35], Writer Work including "Texts from" series, "Children's Stories Made Horrific" series[36]
Nicole Chung Managing Editor[37] (2014-2016)[38], Writer[39]
Jaya Saxena Staff Writer[40] (2015-2016)[41]
Roxane Gay Editor of The Butter[42] (2014-2015), Writer
Hillary Clinton Contributing writer[43]
Emily V. Gordon Contributing writer[44]


  1. ^ Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara. "Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg's The Toast Pops Up". Observer. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  2. ^ Greenfield, Rebecca. "The Toast's Recipe For Bootstrapping A Profitable Media Business". Fast Co. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b Vargas Cooper, Natasha. "Publisher of The Toast Nick Pavich Is Out for Murky Reasons". Jezebel. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  4. ^ "The Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg Interview". Zulkey. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  5. ^ Phillips, Thomas. ""I feel like I was born for the Internet"". The Lumiere Reader. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  6. ^ "2015 30 under 30: Media". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  7. ^ Galo, Sarah. "Mallory Ortberg: 'If men show up that's great, but we don't need them'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  8. ^ "How To Tell What Novel You're In". The Toast. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  9. ^ Woodiwiss, Catherine. "The Toast's Mallory Ortberg on Death, Faith, and Why It's So Easy to Make Fun of Christians". Sojourners. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Adoption topic". The Toast. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  11. ^ Green, Elon. "The Toast Is Generating Heat Online; site is profitable after just 9 months". Ad Week. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  12. ^ "LGBT tag". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  13. ^ Cliffe, Nicole; Ortberg, (Daniel) Mallory. "And Here We Are". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  14. ^ Lange, Maggie (30 October 2014). "Mallory Ortberg on the Great Jerks of Literature". New York Magazine. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Best Sellers, December 2014". New York Times. December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  16. ^ Ulaby, Neda (10 November 2014). "If Literature's Great Characters Could Text, They'd Charm Your Pantalets Off". NPR. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  17. ^ Busis, Hillary. "Breaking Big: Mallory Ortberg, author of 'Texts from Jane Eyre'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  18. ^ Kott, Lidia Jean. "Mallory Ortberg And Her (Small) Media Empire". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  19. ^ Cohen, Rebecca. "Sexts from Scarlett O'Hara". Mother Jones. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  20. ^ Quinn, Annalisa. "Evil, Antic And Modern, 'The Merry Spinster' Puts A Dark Spin On Fairy Tales". NPR Books. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  21. ^ Gay, Roxane (2015-08-28). "A Buttery Farewell". The Toast. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  22. ^ Todd, Carolyn (October 1, 2014). "On the Books: 'Bad Feminist' author launches The Toast sister site". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  23. ^ "We Are Closing The Toast July 1st". The Toast. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Slate Staff: A Toast to "The Toast"". Slate. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  25. ^ Nelson, Sean. "A Toast to The Toast: I Love You, I'll Miss You, and I Don't Blame You One Bit for Closing". The Stranger. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  26. ^ Fallon, Claire. "Farewell To The Toast, Mallory Ortberg's Utopia Of Feminist Humor". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  27. ^ "The Art of Commerce - Mallory Ortberg interview". 0s&1s. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  28. ^ "The Toast - A willing foe, and sea room. - The Toast". 2018-01-28. Archived from the original on 2014-11-14. Retrieved 2018-03-16.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  29. ^ Clinton, Hillary (1 July 2016). "A note on The Toast". The Toast. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  30. ^ Gibson, Caitlin (1 July 2016). "The Toast has ended, and its fans — including Hillary Clinton — are feeling feelings". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  31. ^ Cliffe, Nicole. "okay this is fun". Twitter. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  32. ^ "The Toast". Library of Congress. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  33. ^ "Contact the Toast". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Nicole Cliffe bylines". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Contact the Toast". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  36. ^ "Daniel Mallory Ortberg bylines". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Contact the Toast". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  38. ^ Ortberg, Daniel Mallory (September 25, 2014). "Meet Nicole". The Toast. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  39. ^ "Nicole Chung bylines". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  40. ^ "Contact the Toast". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  41. ^ Ortberg, Daniel Mallory. "A Chat With Jaya Saxena". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  42. ^ "The Butter". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Hillary Clinton bylines". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  44. ^ "Emily V. Gordon bylines". The Toast. Retrieved 10 November 2018.

External linksEdit