In yet another blow to the dwindling world of literary magazines, The Believer is slated to publish its final issue in spring of 2022.
A press release published on Tuesday announced the news that the magazine, which is currently sponsored by the Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute within the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, would be folding after two decades due to a “strategic realignment within the college and BMI” in the aftermath of the covid pandemic.
Jennifer Keene, Dean of UNLV’s College of Liberal Arts, said in a statement in the release that “this was not an easy decision but a necessary one, unfortunately” and that the publication “consumed a significant portion of BMI’s resources.”
“After reviewing the data with internal and external stakeholders, it was clear that there was no path forward to continue publishing the magazine. Print publications in general have been facing increasing headwinds in recent years, which makes them a financially challenging endeavor,” she said.
Since its start in 2003, The Believer has become a beloved publication in the literary world for its mix of high and lowbrow writing, poetry, comics, and beyond. The publication is a five-time finalist for the National Magazine Award and often featured work from notable names like Hilton Als, Anne Carson, Nick Hornby, Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Charles Burns, and many, many more.
The release announcing the publication’s shuttering makes zero note of the scandal involving The Believer’s then editor-in-chief earlier this year. In February, editor-in-chief Joshua Wolf Shenk accidentally exposed his genitals while in the bathtub on a work call and later resigned. The magazine’s staffers later addressed his resignation and the subsequent reporting on it in an open letter on Medium, lambasting the Los Angeles Times specifically. They complained that the Times’ report was too nice to Shenk and painted his actions as “an unfortunate accident” for which he “graciously apologized and offered his resignation,” whereas they felt that his actions on the call were part of a “years-long pattern of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior” and that he was just an overall shitty boss.
Shenk’s disgraceful departure shouldn’t have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, because sometimes bosses are extremely bad and need to resign for doing bad things! And, yet, it seems nearly impossible that Shenk’s actions weren’t part of the reason we’re losing The Believer.
It cannot be understated: This news entirely sucks and is a major blow to aspiring writers. We emphatically implore any and all billionaire who may be currently debating on what leather interior they should put in their spaceship to stop doing that and save this glorious publication.