She's a believer— San Francisco


Author of four hit books, Vendela Vida, is alo the co-editor of US culture magazine 'The Believer'. Part of a celebrated literary couple (her husband is Dave Eggers) she tells Monocle how she works and what inspires her.

Dave Eggers, Publishing, The Believer, US culture magazine, books, writing

“I was born and raised here in San Francisco. My parents were not big readers but my father was an antiques collector and because we had a bunch of old book shelves around the house, he filled them with old books. And that’s mainly how I started reading. When you’re bored as a kid you just pull down these books. It’s kind of strange to me now – some of the choices I made when I was 11 or 12. I used to love W Somerset Maugham’s work, and I wonder in retrospect if that’s in part ­because I liked his name.

Thinking about writing for me now starts with…

The plot so far

Vendela's CV

1971: Born San Francisco
1989: Attends Middlebury College, Vermont
1993: Interns at the ‘Paris Review’, New York
1996: Gains Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University
1999: Publishes first book, ‘Girls on the Verge’
2003: Co-founds ‘The Believer’
2003: Publishes first novel, ‘And Now You Can Go’
2007: Publishes ‘Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name’
2009: Premiere of co-written ‘Away We Go’
2010: Publishes ‘The Lovers’

The Believer

First published in March 2003 and now pushing nearly 80 issues, The Believer bills itself as a magazine “where length is no object”.

Specialising in long-format interviews with philosophers, musicians, filmmakers and writers, it also publishes musings on anything from light bulbs to presidents.

Co-edited by Vida, her Columbia flatmate Heidi Julavits, and Ed Park, circulation hovers at around 20,000 for the 10-times-a- year publication. It’s a niche production, with annual issues dedicated to music (usually leaning towards the more obscure), film and art. Small, yes, but tight aesthetics and a coherent but experimental style put it at the top of the reading pile.


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