Novy Mir has been published in Moscow since January 1925. It was supposed to be modelled on the popular pre-Soviet literary magazine Mir Bozhy ("God's World"), which was published from 1892 to 1906, and its follow-up, Sovremenny Mir ("Contemporary World"), which was published from 1906 to 1917. It mainly published prose that approved of the general line of the Communist Party, though a small controversy occurred in 1945, when Novy Mir published an essay by Aleksandr Bek that mentioned six different slang terms for "perineum".
In the early 1960s, Novy Mir changed its political stance, leaning to a dissident position. In November 1962 the magazine became famous for publishing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's groundbreaking One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a novella about a prisoner of the Gulag. In the same year its circulation was about 150,000 copies per a month. The magazine kept publishing controversial articles and stories about various aspects of Soviet and Russian history until its editor-in-chief, Alexander Tvardovsky, was forced to resign in February 1970. With the appointment of Sergey Zalygin in 1986, at the beginning of the perestroika period, the magazine practised increasingly bold criticism of the Soviet regime. It also published fiction and poetry by previously banned writers, such as George Orwell, Joseph Brodsky and Vladimir Nabokov.
- Vyacheslav Polonsky (1926–1931)
- Ivan Gronsky (1931–1937)
- Vladimir Stavsky (1937–1941)
- Vladimir Shcherbina (1941–1946)
- Konstantin Simonov (1946–1950)
- Alexander Tvardovsky (1950–1954)
- Konstantin Simonov (1954–1957)
- Alexander Tvardovsky (1958–1970)
- Valery Kosolapov (1970–1974)
- Sergei Narovchatov (1974–1981)
- Vladimir Karpov (1981–1986)
- Sergey Zalygin (1986–1998)
- Andrei Vasilevsky (1998- )
Today Novy Mir is considered a leading Russian literary magazine and has a liberal orientation.
In the 2000s, the following authors have been published: Maxim Amelin, Arkadi Babchenko, Dmitry Bak, Vladimir Berezin, Dmitry Bykov, Dmitry Danilov, Vladimir Gandelsman, Alisa Ganieva, Alexander Ilichevsky, Alexander Karasyov, Leonid Kostyukov, Yuri Kublanovsky, Alexander Kushner, Yulia Latynina, Vladimir Makanin, Anatoly Nayman, Yevgeni Popov, Zakhar Prilepin, Valery Pustovaya, Sergey Soloukh, Andrei Volos, Oleg Yermakov and others. 
- Klaus Mehnert; Maurice Rosenbaum (1962). Soviet Man and His World. New York: Praeger. p. 138. Retrieved 4 October 2013. – via Questia (subscription required)
- "Summary": In Novy Mir, 2010 (4).
- Журнальный зал (Zhurnal'nyj zal).