September 2014
VOL. 12, NO. 7
July 2014

Dear readers,

We’re making a big announcement this week, and we wanted to make sure you saw it. Starting today, McSweeney's Publishing (which has been the Believer’s publisher since issue one) will begin operating as a nonprofit.

For the last fifteen years, McSweeney's has dedicated itself to publishing outstanding new writing in a wild variety of forms, and we’ll continue to do just that. The Quarterly Concern will still feature the groundbreaking short stories and eye-gratifying design that have won it two National Magazine Awards; the Believer will still publish great essays and interviews and special issues. Our books, we hope, will remain worthy of cherished placement on your shelves.

So why change now? We believe that becoming a nonprofit will allow McSweeney’s to sustain itself for many years to come, with the help of an expanded community of donors, writers, and readers. We want to continue to pursue a wide range of ambitious projects—projects that take risks, that support ideas beyond the mainstream marketplace, and that nurture emerging work. A nonprofit structure, with a board and members supporting our efforts alongside our staff and writers, will allow us to put new resources behind all our undertakings, and explore a number of exciting projects that, until now, were out of reach.

We’re starting out as a fiscally sponsored project of a great San Francisco nonprofit incubator called SOMArts; next year, we’ll apply to be our own 501(c)(3).

How can you help? Subscribing to our magazines, or renewing your subscription, remains a great way to keep us going. We’ve got some terrific things coming up over the next few months, in the Believer and McSweeney’s both.

But there’s no way around it—this is a big transition for us. There has never been a time when your support mattered more to the future of McSweeney’s. And so, starting today, you can also contribute to McSweeney’s as a member. Better yet, most donations are partially tax deductible.

Donations will allow us to push our projects still further—to invest in in-depth, on-the-ground reporting in the Believer and ambitious new forms for the quarterly, to expand our award-winning poetry series and our commitment to works in translation, and to take on the dream projects we’ve been waiting years to pursue. If you’d like to offer additional support, the best way to do so is to explore the membership levels on our website. Every dollar matters—whether it's a one-time gift of $25 or something that would fuel our work for far longer.

As we announced in the September issue, the Believer is transitioning to bimonthly publication; we’re pleased to say that our first expanded edition will be released in January. We appreciate your bearing with us as we work on our biggest issue yet, but if you’re eager to feel our Rolland Enviro Natural beneath your fingertips and breathe in the special Believer scent before January, please contact us at [email protected], and we'll happily send along recent issues, back issues, or even Believer Books.

We’ll have more news about future issues soon. Whether you’re a recent subscriber or a longtime reader, we’re profoundly grateful for your support.

All of us at the Believer and McSweeney’s Publishing


“John” by Cynthia Lennon

Discuss Rules Beforehand

by Chris Kraus

Ferocity and Vulnerability in a Posthumously Published Collection of Emails from Writer/Artist/Feminist Icon Kathy Acker

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell Ndegeocello


interviewed by Melissa Locker

“I Have the Same Birthday as Michael Jackson. He Is My Cosmic Brother.”

To Keep Time

To Keep Time

reviewed by Stephen Burt

The Color and the Pageantry of Thoroughbred Turtle Racing
by Joe Kloc
A handful of remaining Greenwich Village bohemians wonder what ever happened to the revolution.

Vampires and Vaccines
by Eula Biss

The Relic: A new poem
by Yusef Komunyakaa

Neil LaBute
interviewed by Rider Strong
“I mean, were we aware that Nic Cage in a bear suit would be funny? Yeah. But we knew that we were still going to kill him in the end.”

edited by Alvin Buenaventura

Eleni Sikelianos’s You Animal Machine (The Golden Greek)
reviewed by Jenny Hendrix

Ruth Krauss and Phyllis Rowand’s Monkey Day
reviewed by Ingrid Satelmajer

Pillow of Air
by Lawrence Weschler

Black Kite, White Plastic: A new poem
by Kimiko Hahn

The Process
by Elisa Albert
Tanja Hollander discusses her quest to meet and photograph every one of her Facebook friends, including those she doesn’t actually know.

“A Vocabulary of Belonging”
Poet Eavan Boland interviewed by J. P. O’Malley

What the Swedes Read
by Daniel Handler

Real Life Rock Top Ten
by Greil Marcus

Stuff I’ve Been Reading
by Nick Hornby

My New Glasses
by Wayne Koestenbaum

Carroll Dunham
interviewed by Ross Simonini

...and more.

July / August 2014 June 2014 May 2014 March / April 2014 February 2014 January 2014


A monthly podcast from THE BELIEVER and KCRW

This whole episode (our season one finale) is a conversation between Lena Dunham and Judy Blume, in Blume’s Manhattan apartment.

Also: We asked Lena Dunham to help us score the interview, and we made this mixtape of the songs she suggested. The mix complies songs Lena thinks go well with the interview, as well as music she’s currently listening to.