The Believer 140
Delivered to Stack subscribers in  Jan 2023

by Steve Watson in February 2023
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Founded in 2003 by McSweeney’s, The Believer is a literary magazine with friends in high places. Novelist Nick Hornby writes a column, and this issue includes Aubrey Plaza interviewing director Miguel Arteta, and Angel Olsen on the ideas and experiences behind her songwriting. But it’s not all about celebrity, and The Believer’s reputation comes from publishing fantastic essays, fiction, comics, poetry and more. Scroll down to read editor Daniel Gumbiner’s thoughts on The Believer’s unique appeal.

Daniel Gumbiner

Job title

What is The Believer?
A 12-time finalist for the National Magazine Awards, every issue of The Believer features commentary, deeply reported journalism, poetry, art, essays, and a difficult but ultimately highly enjoyable games section. Printed on full colour, acid-free paper, the magazine has long been a home for the unexpected and the unwieldy corners of culture, a place where readers can encounter emerging talents alongside established, award-winning writers and artists. The magazine is printed four times a year, and occasionally accompanied by a bonus item, like an original 7” record or some other equally amusing object.

What makes it different to the rest?
The Believer is a magazine made by artists and writers and so it has a particular orientation toward the creative process. We like to allow our writers to explore and experiment. Our essays are often long and untimely and stylistically inventive. In the homecoming issue, for example, you’ll find an epic 4,000-word footnote in Sarah Marshall’s essay on serial killer media. We look for work that surprises us and changes how we see the world.

Who makes The Believer?
We have a small editorial staff, with just a handful of editors. Our publisher is Amanda Uhle and our Art Director is Sunra Thompson.

Who reads it?
The Believer is especially beloved in the Bay Area, where it was founded, but it’s read all over the world. Many of our readers are artists or writers themselves.

Why do you work in magazines?
I enjoy being able to help shepherd the work of other writers into publication. I’m a writer myself and that can be a sort of isolating occupation. Working on a magazine puts you into conversation with other writers and makes you feel a part of a larger community, which I appreciate.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
I’m a novelist. I also edit the occasional book for McSweeney’s, like Ahmed Naji’s forthcoming memoir, Rotten Evidence, an excerpt of which first appeared in The Believer.

What would you change about The Believer if you could?
Nothing! It’s perfect!

Where do you see The Believer in five years?
Our hope is to continue to surprise and delight our readers, and to support emerging writers.

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