The Believer is heading home. A twelve-time finalist for National Magazine Awards, The Believer was founded in 2003 by Heidi Julavits, Ed Park, and Vendela Vida at McSweeney’s. In 2017, during a challenging time financially, McSweeney’s sold the magazine to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). After UNLV was no longer able to publish it, McSweeney’s reacquired the magazine, including all assets and intellectual property, May 15, 2022.
Briefly, The Believer was owned by Paradise Media, a digital marketing company. After realizing some of the complexities of print publishing and hearing the fervent support of The Believer ’s two decades of readers and writers, Paradise Media’s CEO, Ian Moe, made a generous and forward-thinking decision: to sell The Believer back to McSweeney’s at a drastically-reduced price, effectively donating a large portion of their original purchase to the cause of getting the magazine back into circulation. “It takes enormous courage to do what Ian’s done in reconsidering his initial purchase of the magazine,” said Amanda Uhle, McSweeney’s publisher and executive director. “When Ian understood the immeasurable gift he’d be providing generations of readers and writers by making this change, he was quick to roll up his sleeves with us and work out a reasonable and agreeable way for us to move forward. We’re grateful for him, and we’ll be celebrating his kindness forever.”
“I feel fortunate to be in a position to help McSweeney’s, and I can’t wait to see all that The Believer will do under their leadership,” said Moe. “I join all of those who expressed their desire this past week to see The Believer remain in print, and everyone here at Paradise Media agreed that the best way to make that a reality is to return the magazine to the place where it began its journey.”
The purchase was made possible thanks to three individual donors who came forward to cover the cost of the asset transfer of the magazine as a gift to McSweeney’s, a nonprofit independent publisher with a twenty-four-year history. McSweeney’s publishes an acclaimed literary journal, McSweeney’s Quarterly; a daily humor website, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency; a kids’ art and storytelling magazine, Illustoria; and an intrepid list of books each year. Uhle said, “We are overjoyed to bring The Believer back into the fold and include its sharp insights, beautiful writing, and essential cultural coverage as part of our publishing program.” Book and magazine sales make up about 80% of the nonprofit organization’s costs, and the balance is funded by grants and donations. McSweeney’s will be fundraising to support its publishing of The Believer slated to release a special homecoming issue in late November 2022. Starting today, all of The Believer ’s online content can be found on our new website: www.thebeliever.net.
Packed with intelligent commentary, unexpected interviews, offbeat journalism, poems, art, book reviews, and more, The Believer is a nexus of literary culture. The magazine will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2023, under the McSweeney’s umbrella. If you’d like to support our re-launch of The Believer, please visit our Kickstarter campaign.