About The Common

MISSION

The Common is a literary organization whose mission is to deepen our individual and collective sense of place.

Based at Amherst College, we aim to serve as a vibrant common space for the global exchange of ideas and experiences through three main areas of activity: publishing, public programming, and mentorship and education.

We publish works that embody particular times and places—literature and art powerful enough to reach from there to here—and feature new and underrepresented voices from around the world. Publications include:

  • Two print issues per year; and
  • An open-access online platform updated weekly.

We host and participate in programs that serve the public and foster literary community, including:

  • Readings and conversations featuring writers, editors, and translators; and
  • Collaborations with schools, museums, libraries, and other publications and nonprofit organizations.

We provide mentorship and education to the next generation of writers, editors, and publishers through:

  • Hands-on literary publishing internship program for college students;
  • Classroom programs serving high school, college, and graduate students; and
  • Strong editorial support and guidance to launch the careers of emerging authors.

WHAT IS THE COMMON?

The Common is an award-winning print and digital literary journal published biannually, in the fall and spring. Issues of The Common include short stories, essays, poems, and images that embody a strong sense of place. The Common Online publishes original content four times per week, including book reviews, interviews, personal essays, short dispatches, poetry, contributor podcasts and recordings, and multimedia features.

Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, the magazine is supported in part by Amherst College and The Common Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Common also runs the Literary Publishing Internship Program at Amherst College, mentoring students in all aspects of literary publishing, and hosts public programming regularly.

See a list of Awards, or check up on News & Events.

Hear more about The Common‘s founding and background in these Interviews with the Editor in Chief.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Finding the extraordinary in the common has long been the mission of literature. Inspired by this mission and the role of the town common, a public gathering place for the display and exchange of ideas, The Common seeks to recapture an old idea. The Common publishes pieces of literature that embody particular times and places both real and imagined; from deserts to teeming ports; from Winnipeg to Beijing; from Earth to the Moon: literature and art powerful enough to reach from there to here. In short, we seek a modern sense of place.

In our hectic and sometimes alienating world, themes of place provoke us to reflect on our situations and both comfort and fascinate us. Sense of place is not provincial nor old fashioned. It is a characteristic of great literature from all ages around the world. It is, simply, the feeling of being transported, of “being there.”

Ours is a small community with far-reaching ideas. Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, we’re a place of farmers, professors, immigrants, liberals, conservatives, dairy cows, tobacco plants, strip malls, and Victorian and Brutalist architecture. We have a rich literary history and support a vibrant diversity of artists and authors. The Common fosters regional creative spirit while stitching together a national and international community through publishing literature and art from around the world, bringing readers into a common space.

SUBMISSIONS

Reading Periods:

  • March 1 – June 1
  • September 1 – December 1

All submissions must be received though Submittable. We do not accept email or paper submissions. Read our Submission Guidelines for more information. Subscribers may submit their work year-round for free!

CONTACT INFORMATION

The Common
Frost Library
Amherst College
Amherst, Mass. 01002

413.542.5453

General inquiries: [email protected]

See Open Positions.

BOOKSTORES

The Common is carried at independent bookstores and Barnes & Nobles across the country and overseas. We are distributed by Publishers Distribution Group and Ubiquity. To purchase print and digital copies of The Common online, please visit our Webstore.

See list of bookstores that carry The Common.

Support

You can give here to support us. The Common is grateful for grants and support from:

grant logos with text

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Jennifer Acker

MANAGING EDITOR

Emily Everett

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Elizabeth Witte

ASSOCIATE FICTION EDITOR

Megan Tucker Orringer

POETRY EDITOR

John Hennessy

DISPATCHES EDITOR

Nina Sudhakar

BOOK REVIEWS EDITOR

Julia Lichtblau

INTERVIEWS EDITOR

Melody Nixon

ARABIC FICTION EDITOR

Hisham Bustani

TRANSLATIONS EDITOR

Curtis Bauer

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

W. Ralph Eubanks

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Ishion Hutchinson

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Marian Crotty

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Sarah Whelan

EDITORIAL BOARD

Dan Chiasson
Catherine Ciepiela
Ted Conover
Daniel Hall
Brad Leithauser
Claire Messud
Honor Moore
William H. Pritchard
Mary Jo Salter
Jim Shepard
Karen Shepard
Ilan Stavans
Richard Todd
Richard Wilbur in memoriam
James Wood

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Harold Augenbraum
Emma D. Becker
Werner Gundersheimer emeritus
W. Drake McFeely
Suketu Mehta
Cullen Murphy emeritus
Niko Pfund

NONPROFIT SPECIALIST

Barbara Mayer

DESIGN

Gabriele Wilson

WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

Willa Jarnagin

COPYEDITOR

Katherine Duke

BOOKKEEPER

Jenny Nigrini

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS

Whitney Bruno
Nayereh Doosti
Avery Farmer
Isabel Meyers
Julia Pike
Debbie Wen

READERS

Heather Brennan
Raina Chinitz
Jonah Davis
Khyla Haddock
Kimberly Kemler
Griffin Lessell
Alexandra Levinson
Amelia Rosch
Edmund Sandoval
Julia Shea
Tara Isabel Zambrano

Willa JarnaginAbout The Common