Literary magazine The Believer to shut down in 2022

NEW YORK (AP) — One of the country’s most acclaimed and innovative literary magazines is shutting down.

The Believer, founded nearly 20 years ago, had been part of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ College of Liberal Arts since 2017. The bi-monthly publication’s final issue, No. 139, is scheduled for February/March 2022.

The school is calling the decision part of a “strategic realignment” shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This was not an easy decision but a necessary one, unfortunately,” College of Liberal Arts Dean Jennifer Keene said in a statement this week. “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.”

Within the school, the magazine had been overseen by the Black Mountain Institute, which runs a wide range of literary programs and other initiatives.

“While The Believer is a highly regarded vehicle for both new and established literary voices, we have a responsibility to direct our resources to the initiatives most central to BMI’s mission,” Keene said.

The Believer was founded in 2003 by authors Vendela Vida, Ed Park and Heidi Julavits, with a commitment “to journalism and essays that are frequently very long, book reviews that are not necessarily timely, and interviews that are intimate, frank and also very long.”

Nick Hornby, Leslie Jamison and Anne Carson were among the many writers published by The Believer, a frequent finalist for National Magazine Awards.

“Feeling heartbroken that @believermag won’t be published any longer,” Jamison, whose books include the nonfiction collection “The Empathy Exams,” tweeted. “They published ‘The Empathy Exams’ when no one else wanted it & it was the most exciting moment of my professional life. They’ve always been a home for weird work that comes straight from the heart.”

The magazine had already been shaken by the departure earlier this year of its editor, Joshua Wolf Shenk, amid allegations that he exposed himself during a Zoom call. In a letter posted soon after on Medium, current and former employees alleged “a years-long pattern of inappropriate and disrespectful behavior” by Shenk.

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