The Threepenny Review is definitely an American literary magazine founded in 1980. It’s printed in Berkeley, California, by founding editor Wendy Lesser. Maintaining an every three months schedule (March, June, September, December), it provides fiction, memoirs, poetry, essays and critique to some readership of 10,000. With no support of patrons or perhaps a college, the publication comes with an annual budget of $200,000.
Playboy premiered in 1980 after Lesser (then 27 years of age without any editing experience) would be a guest editor of Ron Nowicki’s Bay Area Overview of Books. She found the knowledge so rewarding that they made the decision to produce her very own publication, and also the first publication of the Threepenny Review made an appearance three several weeks later. She find the title because of its “apparent Brechtian overtones.”
Often it features an essay symposium, as explained critic Deborah Mead in reviewing issue 104 (Winter 2006):
What sets The Threepenny Review aside from other little magazines is its cultural essays. A regular feature of the journal may be the symposium, a number of essays on one subject. The essayists within this issue concentrate on plot, many conntacting defend plot from the current disfavor, although Geoff Dyer chimes directly into denigrate plot more. Other essays tackle unpredicted topics—music and discomfort, Dylan’s worst song, the placebo effect—with insight and lucidity.
Authors printed within the magazine include Jacob M. Appel, Andre Aciman, John Berger, Wendell Berry, Frank Bidart, Eavan Boland, Roberto Bolano, Jane Bowles, Robert Olen Butler, Anne Carson, T. J. Clark, Henri Cole, Lucille Lang Day, W. S. Di Piero, Mark Doty, Margaret Drabble, Geoff Dyer, Deborah Eisenberg, Paula Fox, Dagoberto Gilb, Louise Gluck, Charlie Haas, Jesse Hall, Seamus Heaney, Tony Hoagland, Louis B. Johnson, A. L. Kennedy, August Kleinzahler, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Philip Levine, Phillip Lopate, David Mamet, Greil Marcus, Paul Muldoon, Sigrid Nunez, Kenzaburo Oe, Cynthia Ozick, Dale Peck, Adam Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Atsuro Riley, Kay Ryan, Oliver Sacks, Luc Sante, Mark Sarvas, Elizabeth Tallent, Amy Tan, James Tate, Tony Tulathimutte, Gore Vidal, Lawrence Weschler, Rachel Wetzsteon, Ernest Wiseman, Dean Youthful, and Adam Zagajewski.
The Threepenny Review has printed more literary work by Javier Marias than every other American magazine. Cover art, frequently selected from works in the Bay Area Museum of contemporary Art, has vary wildly from Edward Hopper to W. Eugene Cruz.
Pieces in the magazine happen to be selected for inclusion within the Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Essays, and also the O. Henry Prize Tales anthologies.
On June 16, 2006, Lesser produced The Lesser Blog, a web-based spin-off on her own writing. An array of various contributions towards the Threepenny Review may also be read in the magazine’s website.