Started in San Francisco in 2003, The Believer is a magazine of books, culture, advice from comedians, and reviews of mammals and power tools. Part of McSweeney’s indie publishing empire, The Believer was home to work by writers like Leslie Jamison, Nick Hornby, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Paul LaFarge, as well as Alta Journal contributors like Susan Straight. Purchased by the Black Mountain Institute in 2017, it was folded in early 2022 before McSweeney’s managed to buy back the title thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and relaunch it as a quarterly in December.
To celebrate its return, Alta Live welcomes its founding editors, Heidi Julavits, Ed Park, and Vendela Vida, as well as current editor Daniel Gumbiner to talk about the little magazine that could—and, once again, does.
About the guests:
Heidi Julavits is the author of The Folded Clock: A Diary, as well as four critically acclaimed novels. She is the co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Women in Clothes. A founding editor of The Believer, her memoir, Directions to Myself, is forthcoming in 2023.
Ed Park is a founding editor of The Believer, for which he has written about Charles Portis, hobo graffiti, and Goodnight Moon. He is the author of the novel Personal Days and the forthcoming Same Bed Different Dreams.
Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of six books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. Her recent novel, We Run the Tides, was a national bestseller. She is a founding editor of The Believer and founding board member of 826 Valencia.
Daniel Gumbiner’s first book, The Boatbuilder, was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the California Book Awards. A 2022–23 Hermitage Fellow, he lives in Oakland and works as the editor of The Believer.•