Announcing LitFest 2022

Amherst LitFest 2022 Logo stating: Illuminating Great Writing & Amhest's Literary Life

We hope you’ll join us virtually for the seventh annual LitFest, hosted in conjunction with Amherst College. This year’s lineup includes Pulitzer Prize winners Natalie Diaz and Viet Thanh Nguyen; 2021 National Book Award nominees Katie Kitamura and Elizabeth McCracken; and journalists Vann Newkirk and David Graham, among others.

This year, we are continuing to highlight the work of The Common’s own Literary Publishing Interns and Amherst Alumni Authors during a virtual reading at 4pm on Saturday, February 26. The Common is also hosting, in collaboration with Restless Books, a conversation with winners of the Restless Books Immigrant Writing Prize, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Grace Talusan, and Ani Gjika. Join us for this packed weekend!

The 2022 festival will largely be in-person, with virtual options for many of the sessions. Visitors will be required to show either proof of full COVID vaccination – and proof of booster if eligible – or a negative test result taken within 72 hours preceding the event.

                                         Katie Kitamura Headshot  Elizabeth McCracken

Conversation with 2021 National Book Award Nominees Katie Kitamura and Elizabeth McCracken
Host: Kirun Kapur
7-8p.m., Friday, February 25
Hosted in partnership with the National Book Foundation

Natalie Diaz Headshot
Poets at Amherst with Pulitzer Prize Winner Natalie Diaz
Host: Alicia Mireles Christoff
11a.m., Saturday, February 26 
Hosted in partnership with the National Book Foundation

Viet Thanh Nguyen Headshot

A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen
Host: Jennifer Acker, editor-in-chief of The Common 
7p.m., Saturday, February 26 
Hosted in partnership with the Presidential Scholars Program

                                            Vann Newkirk Headshot  David Graham Headshot

Voting Rights and the Future of our Democracy
A conversation with Vann Newkirk and David Graham
Host: Cullen Murphy
11a.m., Sunday, February 27 

                                            Rhina Espaillat Headshot  Dana Gioia Headshot

Richard Wilbur — Keeping the Difficult Balance
A conversation with Rhina Espaillat, Dana Gioia, and filmmaker Ralph Hammann
Host: Amelia Worsley
1p.m., Sunday, February 27 

                          Deepak-Unnikrishnan Headshot Grace Talusan Headshot Ani Gjika Headshot

Restless Books/The Common presents (Im)migration Writing
Host: Ilan Stavans
3p.m., Sunday, February 27 
Deepak Unnikrishnan, Grace Talusan, and Ani Gjika


LitFest Books 2022



Announcing LitFest 2022

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Belonging Is a Complicated Thing: An Interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen

There's a difference between having a sense of haunting that's very explicit when you know that there are ghosts there—that was growing up in the Vietnamese refugee community. Then there's another sense of haunting where you don't know the ghosts are there, but they are—and that's growing up in the United States.

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She wanted love so badly the longing felt like organ failure, but it was the longing itself which had rendered her unlovable, the way the starving are eventually unable to digest food. At the same time she believed she deserved love—not as much as anyone, but more.

Cover of The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen, showing a drawing of a man on a yellow background with red text

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We were the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unseen, invisible to all but ourselves. Less than nothing, we also saw nothing as we crouched blindly in the unlit belly of our ark, 150 of us sweating in a space not meant for us mammals but for the fish of the sea.